“West Ham: Crisis Club” would have felt more appropriate, such has been the constant, extraordinary drama that has stretched from the Carlos Tévez affair to the financial meltdown of the club’s previous owner, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson.

Off the field, fortunes are improving. That may appear counter-intuitive. After all, why would CB Holdings, the company formed by creditors which runs West Ham, have appointed Rothschild and Standard Bank to seek out new investors?

And it was not so long ago that Napoli, aware of Zola’s disenchantment, tried to tempt him, technical director Gianluca Nani and chief executive Scott Duxbury to leave Upton Park.

That process of sifting through potential investors – and would-be buyers – is almost complete and the strong likelihood is that the banks will be stood down without a deal being done.

Talks have taken place with at least three parties: Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, former Birmingham City co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold and a consortium fronted by a company called the Intermarket Group.

Fernandes, the founder of Air Asia and a West Ham fan, has been the closest to taking a stake and was even introduced to Zola. Indeed, at one stage it appeared likely he would acquire a 51 per cent stake in the club.

West Ham chairman Andrew Bernhardt even flew to Kuala Lumpur to try to seal the deal but an agreement on price could not be reached. Fernandes remains interested and has been back in contact with Bernhardt but, as yet, nothing has been settled.

The other two parties are being treated with greater scepticism and there is a general sense at West Ham, and with Straumur, the troubled Icelandic bank that is CB Holdings’ biggest shareholder, that the investors believe there is a bargain to be had and that the situation at the club is far worse than is being let on.

They believe Bernhardt, who was appointed by Straumur and who has stuck to his valuation, is, in effect, bluffing.

There are reasons to believe he is not. West Ham would like investment. It would mean, for example, that instead of having to pay £3.5 million a year over the next five years to Sheffield United because of the Tévez affair, they could renegotiate a one-off settlement on better terms.

Investment would mean that rather than having to rely on funds generated by sales, which has been a struggle between West Ham and Straumur, and income to acquire new players, they could recruit more freely.

But Straumur’s own fortunes have improved, and that is now helping West Ham. If they had needed to sell by now, they would have done so.

The bank is restructuring itself in Iceland and there is real hope that it may soon come out of a moratorium – a suspension of payment to creditors – to reflect its improved status. Negotiations with creditors are continuing. Another extension beyond the December deadline should be agreed.

At the same time, CB Holdings has renegotiated the terms of a loan facility at West Ham which has placed it on a more sound financial footing.

As part of that agreement, Straumur put in more than £5 million of new investment – a prerequisite demanded by the banks who conducted the refinancing to show goodwill – while the debts now stand at £38 million and are wholly manageable with a turnover of around £90 million.

Furthermore, the club has dramatically cut its wage bill, which had grown under previous chairman Eggert Magnusson, from £62 million to £38 million a year.

Of more immediate concern to supporters is the forthcoming January transfer window. Again, there have been predictions of a fire-sale but players such as Carlton Cole, Valon Behrami and Robert Green will not be sold.

The future of captain Matthew Upson, who was wanted by Liverpool and Fiorentina last summer, is less certain because of his age and his insistence on not signing a new contract. Still, Upson should stay until the summer and will then try to find Champions League football.

Magnusson had promised that as well but, through his spending and Gudmundsson’s financial collapse, almost ruined the club.