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Allardyce’s Nicht for Ibisevic and Hughes shoos Crouch claims

West Ham United, 13/5 to finish in the top 10 next season, have reportedly been knocked back in a bid to sign Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic, as they seek a replacement for Andy Carroll, who is out for four months with ankle ligament injury.

Boss Sam Allardyce has compiled a list of targets, and the Bosnia and Herzegovina star, who scored his country’s first ever World Cup goal (in Brazil against Argentina) was understood to have been near the top. Stuttgart are determined to keep one of their main assets, who has scored 47 times in three seasons for the German side, and negotiations regarding a new contract are underway.

Another candidate that the Hammers had identified was Stoke City forward Peter Crouch, however manager Mark Hughes has moved quickly to warn the east London club off the player.

Hughes said: “Peter was great for me and he is a player we want to keep.

“We have got good options and we want to keep it that way, it’s a long tough season and you need good quality players over the place,” he finished.

Samuel Eto’o has also been linked, though initially there had been concerns over excessive wage demands, however latest developments indicate that the Cameroonian could be prepared to take a substantial pay-cut to stay in the Premier League.

Midfielder Mark Noble is determined to avoid a relegation fight this season, and has vowed to fans that the team will battle hard to ensure they don’t make things hard for themselves.

“I probably only enjoyed about two months of last season. We were in the bottom three and then put a few results together and jumped to 10th,” he said.

“But from 10th downwards last year everyone was in a relegation scrap and that’s not where we want to be.

“We’ve got two weeks to knuckle down and do what we need to do to become a proper team. Hopefully we can get another couple of signings in and enjoy this season,” Noble continued.

“I hope we can [produce a more entertaining side]. But winning games is entertaining enough. If you don’t win games then you get relegated, it’s as simple as that.

“A cup run would be a bonus. For the club, with the new stadium coming, the main concentration will be the league. We want to improve on 13th spot.”

The Hammers are 4/1 to be relegated next term.