We’re mid-way through July and our very public quest to sign a marquee, big name striker continues in vein.
As things stand I count at least 10 strikers who you would consider to be big names, all linked with a ‘shock’ move to east London. The latest is Carlos Bacca, who appears to have said “thanks but not thanks” to our incredibly large contract offer.
But so many fans appear to be surprised by his decision to hold out for a club playing in the Champions League. Why?
There are a number of reasons why the eventual result of our striker hunt will disappoint the claret and blue masses, and the club only has its self to blame.
Firstly, the moment the club made it very clear that a 20+ goal a season striker was top of the agenda this summer and they would be willing to spend upwards of £30m to get one, it was always going to end in tears.
The moment you go public with your financial intentions in a transfer market is the moment clubs will quite happily hang you out to dry if you show even the slightest interest in their player. Why would Lyon sell Alexandre Lacazette for £25m when they know West Ham are willing to pay £30m+ for someone of his calibre? Of course they’re going to demand more!
This also leads to the player demanding inflated wages because, in the not so wonderful world of football, if you’re willing to pay a big transfer fee then you have to be willing to pay big wages. That’s the game we’re in now. Simple.
In this summer’s insistence, David Gold and David Sullivan have pretty talked themselves in to a game of cat and mouse. They haven’t done this deliberately and it has always been in their best intentions to keep the fans in the loop when it comes to transfer activity, though there was never any need to be so specific with their communications – just a ‘buying a striker is a priority this summer’ would’ve been enough.
But what such a public statement has done is lead to a number of damaging factors, and subsequently more public statements in order to ‘show the world West Ham are serious about reaching the next level.’
Diafra Sakho looks like he could be on his way after seemingly growing frustrated with the club’s obvious distrust in his ability to lead the line next season. That means that, when he does eventually leave for some sub-standard bottom half Premier League side, Slaven Bilic is going to have to dip in to the market for yet another striker. That leaves two strikers to buy now, even though buying one seems to be too difficult right now.
The whole Carlos Tevez episode was yet another damaging factor. By openly telling the world how much money David Sullivan offered Tevez to come home, he told every single player in the world who we may enter in to negotiations with that we’re willing to pay that money. Again, I’m sure it was said with good intentions, but when will someone pull Sullivan aside and quietly tell him to keep his cards a little closer to his chest for once.
I admire the club’s ambition in what is now a new and exciting era. The two Davids are legends in my eyes, saviours of our wonderful football club and a pair of fans who can be immensely proud of what they have achieved thus far. That doesn’t mean to say they’re immune from criticism, though. They way they’ve behaved this summer deserves criticism.
The reality is that come the eventual closure of this transfer window, we’re more likely to end up with a proven but not quite marquee striker on our books than we are seeing a big name donning the claret and blue – and that’s all because of the owners.
However, cast your minds back to last summer. We signed Dimitri Payet for just £10.7m and he ended up being the best player in the Premier League before starring at Euro 2016 for France. Now he’s being linked with £100m moves to the likes of Real Madrid and PSG. Who’s to say we can’t find a relatively ‘small name’ striker who can have a similar impact next season? Why does it have to be a big name? We’re not that club yet. We will be that club eventually but we have to be realistic about who we are and not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Similarly, who’s to say Andy Carroll isn’t the 20+ goal a season striker we’re craving? Why can’t Ashley Fletcher and Toni Martinez step up and chip in with the goals throughout the season? Slaven Bilic has already praised both youngsters and hinted they’ll be playing a part during 16/17…
If we go to Sakho and say, ‘sorry mate, we were out of order and didn’t mean to make you feel unwanted, but we do really want you here,’ he could very well be the man to fire us in to the top four next season? Why have the club already ruled these players out?
Sakho could’ve been that guy last season but injury prevented him from having an extended run in the starting XI, and the same goes for Andy Carroll.
Slaven Bilic may have other ideas, and he may be the one pulling the strings behind closed doors, but something tells me that Sullivan could well be the man doing it off his own back.
The business we have conducted so far has been absolutely sensational and full credit has to go to the board and Bilic for making them all happen, so let’s not allow any disappointment of not buying a big name striker get in the way of those positives.
Because it’s crazy how many people are taking to Twitter to vent their anger and frustration at the situation. We’ve got a guy wearing a beanie hat (didn’t they go out in the early 00’s?) screaming expletives to the owners on YouTube and fans harassing a former employee of the club for transfer updates every five minutes. It’s not a good look, trust me, and although we’re all passionate about the club, there really isn’t any point in moaning about it when there’s still six weeks of the transfer window left. Patience, please.
We’ve got everything in place to ensure our new era gets off the best possible start, and I’m sure the squad will be more than capable of competing on all fronts next term regardless of who’s leading the line.
Oh, and for those calling for Ravel Morrison to come home – please let it go. The last player we want in the squad right now is one who believes his own hype and is more irresponsible than a new born baby. He was a great talent but his ship sailed ages ago. End of story.