West Ham will not allow England internationals Scott Parker and Rob Green to leave on the cheap following their relegation to the Championship, according to chairman David Gold.
The Hammers slipped out of the Premier League on Sunday following a 3-2 defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Wigan, with manager Avram Grant shown the door almost immediately.
Midfielder Parker and goalkeeper Green have been two of the very few players at Upton Park to emerge from a miserable campaign with any credit and are widely expected to be on the move in the summer.
Football Writers' Association player of the year Parker, who is sure to attract a host of suitors, admitted prior to the Latics loss that he could not give any guarantees over his future should the club be relegated.
But Gold insists that unless the East London outfit receive an acceptable offer for their key men, then they will remain part of the squad pushing for an immediate return to the top flight.
"We are going to do everything in our power to keep our best players," he told Sky Sports News in an exclusive interview.
"I've said in the past it will be very difficult to ask an international to come and play in the Championship when traditionally England players aren't picked in the Championship.
"We are not in any hurry. We must receive the proper amount of compensation for any player that we sell. If we don't then the player will stay with us in the Championship."
Gold did accept that out-of-contract duo Matthew Upson and Kieron Dyer were now likely to seek pastures new, although he did grasp at the hope they could agree new terms with the Hammers.
He said: "They are now free agents and they are free to move to a new club, or maybe sit down with us and sign a new contract."
Gold and co-owner David Sullivan must now prepare for a season outside the top-flight and the former has confirmed that there are likely to be wholesale changes over the summer.
He added: "We have to start a whole rebuilding programme. We know that we have to rebuild the squad and prepare ourselves for life in the Championship.
"We have to prepare a squad of players that is going to get us back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
"Our fans and all of us are hurting right now. We are entitled to grieve, it can go on for a couple of days, it can go on for a couple of weeks.
"But sooner or later we have to stop grieving and feeling sorry for ourselves and start believing. Rather than talking about relegation we have to start talking about promotion and getting back into the Premier League which will be so important to us.
"We have got to do everything in our power to get back into the Premier League as soon as possible."
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