Well, what a summer it has been! Not just for West Ham but for every active club in the window.
At the start of the summer, the aim of the board, Slaven Bilic and Tony Henry was to address the quantity issue and replace that with quality, which they have done. A total of fifteen players have left and the club have recouped £22.64m in permanent disclosed transfer fees – plus the players’ wages – for deadwood squad players, with £11.6m came from Middlesbrough’s pockets.
Interestingly, on TransferMarkt.com, there is a lot more income that has not been recorded… Please note that:
- Enner Valencia left West Ham United for Mexican side Tigres but the reported fee is unknown. It is assumed that the fee was around £7m.
- Outgoing “temporary transfers” or as we like to call it, loan deals, have a fee and these have also not been logged.
- Reece Oxford is on loan to BMG in Germany and that fee is assumed £1m for the season.
- Josh Cullen and Reece Burke both joined Bolton Wanderers for a five-month loan deal and the combined assumed fee is approximately £500k.
- Robert Snodgrass joined Aston Villa on loan and the assumed fee is £1.25m for the season.
So really there is another £9.75m we should add onto the income totalling £32.39m.
The club reinvested that money and spent a total £40.86m in five new players, one of which was a free transfer and again this doesn’t include the season long loan fee of a staggering £4.5m for Joe Hart which has been reported by BBC.
When you compare that fee to the reported £2m loan fee Swansea City paid for Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches and that the England No.1 has already conceded 10 goals, it’s beginning to look like we’ve overpaid for a player whose future at West Ham doesn’t look beyond next season. Bare in mind we sold Darren Randolph for only £500k more than what we spent on Hart for a temporary season stay.
There is no doubt that the club added quality to the side by finally filling the right back void with Pablo Zabaleta, upgrading a goalkeeper with Hart, upgrading Sofiane Feghouli for record signing Marko Arnautovic and replacing youth striker Ashley Fletcher for an experienced and top class goal scorer in Chicharito, who has a two goals in three games so far.
By Deadline Day we had only spent just under £13m NET and trimming down the squad size to a 24 players, joint with Burnley and two more players than Man City and West Brom.
The current value of our squad is £197m worth of talent, which shouts mid-table standard – Chelsea are top with £561m and Huddersfield are bottom with £51m.
After the recent transfer window, our current senior team squad depth is as follows:
GK: Hart & Adrian
DEF: Reid, Ogbonna, Fonte, Collins, Henry, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Zabaleta, Byram
MID: Kouyate, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes, Haksabanovic, Lanzini
ATT: Ayew, Arnautovic, Antonio, Chicharito, Carroll, Sakho.
At the end of the summer transfer window, our senior squad depth last season was:
GK: Randolph & Adrian
DEF: Reid, Ogbonna, Collins, Cresswell, Masuaku, Arbeloa, Byram
MID: Kouyate, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes, Payet, Lanzini, Feghouli, Tore, Nordviet
ATT: Ayew, Zaza, Antonio, Fletcher, Calleri, Carroll, Sakho.
*Jose Fonte and Snodgrass were added in January 2017
It is quite significant that it is our midfield which has thinned this season but strangely, since January this year, our defence has got the required depth we needed last season by having two players, correctly known players, for every position at the back.
We haven’t replaced Dimitri Payet, who is hugely missed in the squad regardless of the way he left. Yes, we have Manuel Lanzini and he is a very good player, but at this current time, he won’t fill the void left by the Frenchman. Payet was Bilic’s get out of jail card and could fully rely on the Frenchman to get goals and points from a losing position.
This summer we had been linked with William Carvalho in a £40m transfer. This transfer never happened because the board declined on matching Sporting Lisbon’s ‘agreed/’ release fee, and although he would have been a great upgrade on Pedro Obiang in front of the back four, I honestly think he would have been a luxury player and not the solution to the problem.
We tried to replace Dimitri Payet with Robert Snodgrass and we all know how that panned out, so to replace Dimi with a defensive minded midfielder to protect a deep selection of defenders at the club, you have to question why we were in for him at all.
I’m not saying this to make me or you feel better by not getting him – I would have loved Carvalho – but I truly feel that even with his purchase the squad wouldn’t be complete, as we lack that spark in the middle of the pitch to force an attack. That isn’t Carvalho’s style of play.
The player we should have kept this transfer window is Sofiane Feghouli, who was the nearest thing to Payet at the club in terms of running with the ball from the middle. Yes, Ayew can do this also, but he is a player who would be on the end of a Payet-style pass, not the start of it.
I truly think our beloved club has quite possibly dodged a bullet and will use that £35m-40m to get a player who can emulate Payet’s ability.
I’m not supporting the board with these comments, I just feel that they haven’t done their research properly and highlighted what was really missing at our club. We signed players who can finish, but what good is that if there is no sense of beginning.
Is this Slaven’s fault? Maybe, because he is the one who looks at the team every day, trains them, coaches them and picks the team for that fixture. There is no spark and no identity and with Bilic picking players who he thinks could play in a position which isn’t natural to them, is quite ignorant.
I get that Slaven picks the players and gets offered what the club can afford, but I seriously question where our club is looking.
Haksabanovic does look like a real talent for his age and does show his natural ability on the ball, but we needed someone more senior and we needed that player immediately, someone who has experience and a slight on-field arrogance or confidence to do the passes, the tricks, the attempts on goal with ease.
That player could be Marko Arnautovic but again, he is not Payet. The club could of looked at similar players in the Premier League who would give us that “Ka-pow” moment but with the market so inflated with overpriced players at the moment, we would be looking at signing a player for £50m+. Those types of players would want Champions League football.
Who would I have gone for in the transfer window? Arda Turan, a perfect player for us and a fantastic opportunity for him. Currently rotting at Barcelona and not getting games, a loan deal away from the Nou Camp would have been exactly what we were after. I don’t need to go into details about how naturally good he is, but he is a talented player who would have been available and with a point to prove.
I think upon reflection, the board have done great business financially in recouping over £30m in flops and fringe players, but I just wished they spent a little bit more in getting the right players in. I suppose that right player was never found and if he was, we left it too late.
Another plus was retaining Manuel Lanzini at the club, to lose Payet was bad enough but to lose another creative element to our side would have been a disaster. Then again, nobody really came in for our little diamond, did they?
I firmly believe that the board have given Slaven three games to save his West Ham career. With the tools he has he needs to start delivering quickly, otherwise we’ll be looking for a new manager.
With the board refusing to meet Carvalho’s valuation, this could allow a potential new manager to have a reasonable amount of cash to start building his side and hopefully in a season that doesn’t involve a relegation battle.
Everything happens for a reason! COYI