Squad ready for challenge

West Ham United are looking forward to the second half of the season in good spirits after the closure of the transfer window.

The recruitment of Savio and Radoslav Kovac has added extra international quality to Gianfranco Zola's in-form squad ahead of a meeting of two of the country's form teams this Sunday when the champions Manchester United arrive at the Boleyn Ground. The progress shown by homegrown Hammers like Jack Collison and those emerging behind him like Marek Stech, James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears has also had an impact on the coaching staff's thinking.

CEO Scott Duxbury revealed on Monday night though that attempts had been made to sign a third player this window but in the end did not proceed. "The club is very happy with the business done in January. We had been looking at a couple of the manager's targets but a deal could not be concluded," he said.

"Rather than rush anything through, and with the manager happy with his squad, we felt it best to wait until the summer when we can take stock of the squad and spend our money wisely.

"The addition of Savio and Radoslav, and the quality of players coming through the ranks underlined that this window we wanted to focus on players that could challenge for a first-team place. Having also exercised the option to keep Herita Ilunga at the club long-term, we are very happy with the business we have done."

Departing have been Matthew Etherington, Hayden Mullins and Craig Bellamy, with Calum Davenport, Nigel Quashie, Julien Faubert, Lee Bowyer, Kyel Reid, Joe Widdowson and Jordan Spence out on loan - in some cases with sizeable fees being paid. This has meant the first-team squad has been trimmed in line with the manager's wishes and the CEO thanked fans for their support of the coaching set-up and acknowledgment of the efforts to boost the medical and technical departments.

"We recognise that having the fans with us is essential and we need to keep them informed. It is down to us to earn their support and that goes for the club off the field as well as on it. I am pleased we have kept hold of our key players, although this is simply what any club with ambition would expect to do and should not be viewed as an achievement. Similarly new contracts will be discussed when and where appropriate.

"It is clear that we have a squad that is committed to this club, and we are excited to see what they can realise in the rest of the season and beyond. We know that things may not always go as well as they have been over the last eight games or so but, even if there is a blip, we are confident we have the squad and structure in place to keep West Ham United moving forward."