WEST HAM KEEN TO KEEP COLE

West Ham are unwilling to let star striker Carlton Cole leave the club for anything less than £12 million, with any cash-plus-player offers certain to be rejected.

The Hammers are expected to officially announce that Avram Grant will be the club's new manager on Thursday, and the former Portsmouth boss has earmarked four or five players who he would like to sign in order to strengthen the squad ahead of next season.

But any moves for new players will need to be funded, with the sale of England internationals Cole and Matthew Upson the most likely source of finance.

Cole missed out on England's World Cup squad, failing to make even the provisional 30-man selection, but was one of the Hammers' star performers in a disappointing 2009-10 campaign, scoring ten Premier League goals.

Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold seem resigned to losing Cole, but are determined to hold out for as close to their £15 million asking price as possible, with an Upton Park source informing Soccernet that £12 million "is the minimum we are seeking".