Gold targets 15 players

West Ham co-owner David Gold has revealed the club are tracking 15 players in their bid to complete the great escape.

Despite the Hammers being saddled with more than £100million of debt, Gold is ready to open the chequebook this weekend to help manager Avram Grant make them only the second club to avoid the drop after being bottom of the Barclays Premier League at Christmas.

"We've got 15 irons in the fire, and I mean that literally," said Gold.

"We're just concentrating on incomings, and if you get three, you've done good."

The first of those will be Steve Sidwell from Aston Villa but Gold would not name other targets.

"There's a lot of secret stuff going on; we're trying to outwit our competitors," he said.

"We're after a player who is the same type of player one of our competitors is looking for, and we want to keep that as quiet as we can and complete the deal."

The January window is also likely to lead to renewed speculation over the futures of the Hammers' best players, most notably star midfielder Scott Parker, who the club have repeatedly insisted is going nowhere.

Striker Frederic Piquionne was quoted this week saying he would be interested in a move to Villa but Gold said: "He's not for sale. This club is fighting for its life.

"It's got to change what it's been doing. For 30 years, it's been selling its best players. That's got to stop."