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Van's the man for West Ham

David Sullivan last night claimed he has offered a "special player" a £100,000-a-week contract to move to West Ham United.

The new Hammers co-owner admitted this week the club are £110m in debt, but the ex-Birmingham co-owner has now said he would be willing to pay big wages to one "exceptional" signing.

"We've offered £100,000-a-week to a player today and we are still not sure we are going to get him," said O'Sullivan. "That was a very special player.

"There's no transfer fee involved and he's got the choice of almost every club in Europe. He has played at the highest level.

"He's down to three clubs, and West Ham are the only English club still in the hunt for him. Whether we get him is another thing."

However, Sullivan did not mention the player the club is targeting.

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has been linked with a move to Upton Park, yet Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City are also reportedly interested in the 33-year-old.

Sullivan admitted West Ham, who sit 16th in the Premier League, are desperate for a player who can make an immediate impact.

He said: "We can carry one exceptional player, who would make a difference on that wage, but we have to bring the wages down, and in the summer we hope to sign younger players on a fraction of those wages.

"We have looked at a few players in the Championship, but the reality is that it is no good if they make the grade in 12 months' time, we need them to make the grade now.

"We have a crisis and you have to have a different strategy to what our long-term strategy will be."

He added: "We are trying to sign players because, unfortunately, we have come in very, very late and we have got a very unbalanced squad.

"We are particularly short of strikers and they are the hardest and most difficult position to fill. That's the short-term objective.

"We have guaranteed that we will not sell a player in the transfer window, and we are looking at targets. We are doing our best for West Ham but at the moment we are drawing blanks."