Finally another crazy a transfer deadline day is over. When we look at the business West Ham have done, I think it’s a good guess that most, if not all, fans will be very pleased. Nine new signings (yes, nine!) have graced the corridors of the Boleyn Ground this window.
But, typical of West Ham, it comes with more questions than answers…
- Did Sam Allardyce have a say in each signing?
- Did his scouts track these players on his behalf?
- Are they the type of players he would normally be associated with?
- Have the board bought players over the manager’s head?
When we look at the above questions, it’s hard to believe that Sam has been looking at these players over the past season and, in Valencia’s case, since January as Sam claims in an interview. If that was true it would mean we have tracked Valencia for six months prior to the World Cup. If that is the case, surely it would’ve been worth placing a bid earlier before he scored three goals in Brazil and we paid an inflated £12-£15million fee, depending on the reports you read.
Or was he a panic big name buy from the under pressure owners to please the long suffering fans. Before Valencia signed, there were reports Sam was looking at Peter Crouch. This would have had the hallmark of a Sam Allardyce signing all over it. A big target man who can play up front alone. Since Valencia has signed he has not started any Premier League games and at most has had 20 minutes in each of our home games so far. This is because he is unfit, apparently?
Well how many players who played in the World Cup are unfit after being at their peak during the summer? If he had picked up an injury it would be understandable, but this has never been said and I can only take it he wasn’t an Allardyce buy hence the reason he is on the bench and Carlton Cole is getting the nod ahead of him. Sam has said he can’t play Valencia up front on his own. So why buy him?
Mauro Zarate has also spent more time on the bench than on the pitch and, although scoring in pre-season and looking the type of player who can liven the crowd, he has been benched, probably as he too is a buy from the board who would have known him from their Birmingham days.
Alex Song is a surprise last minute addition to the squad, though. But how does he fit in to the team under Sam’s tactics? He certainly doesn’t fit the type of player he would sign and could actually be the most skilful player ever to play for Sam. That’s if he gets a game while Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan remain nailed on starters.
Cheikhou Kouyate has started really well and played his way in to the plans of the manager. He looks like a replacement for Diame who they probably knew was leaving.
It seems to me that players have been bought over the manager’s head and maybe it’s now down to a battle of wills between Sam and the owners as to who wins. If Sam plays the new boys then he is obviously buying in to the promise of more attractive football now that we have the players or, if he continues to leave them on the bench, we will be left with the real possibility of Allardyce leaving the club.
And on a final note, the goal Diafra Sakho scored against Ipswich with Song & Ravel Morrison whilst playing flowing passing football could only increase the pressure on Sam and give him nightmares, as that wasn’t from the Sam Allardyce school of football.
If Ricardo Vaz Te and Carlton Cole start against Hull on Monday night then it’s probably fair to assume Allardyce had very little say in most of the players we signed this summer.