Transfer Gossip

Transfer Deadline Day: Open Thread

This doesn’t look as if it will be a very busy deadline day for West Ham, with only one likely signing, Albian Ajeti from Basel. I won’t be able to update this page a lot during the day as I am at the Edinburgh Fringe…

14.12 Grady Diangana off on a season long loan to WBA. Gutted. But it will be good experience for him.

14.10 Tottenham are reportedly trying to flog Victor Wanyama to West Ham today. Can’t quite see this happening. He’s a very good player but we’re overburdened with midfielders and we’d have to strike a foreign player off our squad list to accomodate him.

09.01 And as if by magic, David Gold has just confirmed the signing on Twitter of Albian Ajeti. “Good morning. I am pleased to announce the signing of Switzerland international striker Albian Ajeti from FC Basel for an undisclosed fee. The 22-year-old joins the Hammers on an initial four-year contract, with an option to extend for a further two seasons. Welcome Albian.”

08.56 Albian Ajeti looks to be a certain signing. He’s a striker from Basel, with the fee being around £8 million.


Player Analysis

How to manage on less than £10 million a year

Guest Post by Rugby Irons

So we’ve all seen the preseason and we all have our opinions as to what Manuel Pelligrini has done or not done right. There are lots of all sorts on here so for one night only I am going to be Steve Pelligrini !

So firstly I would have to say that the areas we needed to change haven’t been addressed and preseason has shown up just how weak we are at full back. On the other hand the signings of both Fornals and Haller look to be quality acquisitions. We are moving towards a fearsome front line with great options although not getting Chico moved on looks a mistake. The early pre-season fitness work looked to have improved the level of fitness to previous years, but mentally there seemed a more positive attitude. This in part comes from not letting outside influences get involved. Moving her out of the front line has given a more focussed approach to the work to be done.

The first friendly was basically a run around but the Manchester City game shown a lot of real endeavour. I was able to bring players to have a look and frankly the score with VAR would have been a lot different. The Newcastle game was disappointing as the team didn’t get going and it was hard for the players in the conditions. Having said that we are still conceding too many goals from the left back position and frankly I should have changed this. The Fulham game was a good introduction to the new boys and there were real spells of quality and a clean sheet. The Berlin game showed a lot of character and the team are starting to gel although the lads coming on have all staked a claim too. Some good goals from five different players has to be good.

The Bilbao game was another slow start. We really must change our routine to get out of this bad habit and also being able to play two good halves would help. I picked Cresswell again, in the vain hope he would produce and again he didn’t. I should have given Johnson left back time knowing Arthur could come on. I should also have given David Martin the last twenty as he is bound to be needed on Saturday as Fabianski won’t be fit. The chance to get twenty minutes at home in front of a big crowd was vital exposure that he didn’t get and a mistake. As for the penalties, what a shambles that was. It should have been dealt with far better from a manager with a trophy up for grabs. Lazy in my opinion.

So , the fitness work has been done and this is my assessment of the players:

Keepers

Fabianski: The injury is a major concern . If he doesn’t play Saturday we will be in big trouble. Typical of getting rid of Adrian, just when we need him. Any length out or poor form and we will be looking up not down.
Roberto: Has not instilled any confidence and so far hasn’t made a real save of note. He looks nervy and he needs to impose himself a bit more.
Martin: Who knows? The chances to play him were not taken so I can only hope he isn’t needed to soon!

Defenders

Cresswell: He has been really poor, with or without the armband. He is no longer premiership standard and its clearly been a huge mistake not to get a real leftback in. Teams target him and his area and he comes up short. I won’t be playing him.
Masuaku: Given a new contract as to keep him, as Cresswell is so bad, and we need at least one proper left back. He will be asked to defend this season and his previous record against the better clubs is good. He won’t need to get forward and so can concentrate just on defending.
Zabaleta: Despite being older you always get 100% from him and his physicality and experience rarely let him down.
Fredericks: Should be the best right back in the Premiership but still needs to stop being so rash. Hopefully with more games and Zabaleta to guide him he could be a major player this season.
Johnson: Although very raw, he has proved in his performances at full back that he has something about him. He needs game time and injuries may give him his chance.
Balbuena: Looks a yard light from last season but still has an imposing presence. Will be a vial part of the defence.
Diop: Time to make all that promise come good. If he steps up from last season and he and the General stay fit we’ll be good.
Ogbonna: Will be the third centreback as he is a bit inconsistent. He needs to stay fit to be the other cover when needed.
Reid: Spent force for me. He won’t get to the fitness or performance levels needed from being on the bench.

Midfield

Wilshere: Has looked like the missing cog so far. He hasn’t created too much but his ability to set the pace of the game may be critical against teams trying to overrun us. Looks great to watch.
Noble. This will be another huge season. He knows he won’t be a regular starter but his influence will still be a massive part of where we end up.
Sanchez. Looks like he may be finding some form and has looked decent in the last couple of games. He won’t start many but could be a useful sub when you want to hold a win or salvage a point.
Rice: Looks a little leggy to me and perhaps should have been rested to give more responsibility to the rest. He is a major player for us but doesn’t look right on it to me. The start of the season might change that.
Lanzini: Has really stepped up and this will be his season. He wants international football and knows he has to perform to get it back. We can expect great things.
Fornals: Has come in and been understated so far. Has done enough to see his class and looks like he is settling in to the role.
Anderson: Has drifted in and out of games and needs to work on his intensity as he is capable of match winning performances.
Snodgrass . Will be needed for those cold up north midweek games when work rate is needed . He always brings s his best and that’s invaluable.
Diangana: Has been noticeably more physical in preseason and it’s made him more potent . He doesn’t create enough at this level but being with much better players should bring him on.
Yarmolenko: Despite his almost totally left footed play he can still perform at a high level and gives a little balance to the middle.
Cullen: I think he will still be loaned out before the end of the month. He has done enough to the first team squad but he will want games which he won’t get until the injures come in

Strikers

Antonio: I see him being the surprise second striker. He brings more to the attack than Chico and defensives are far more worried about his pace than the non-scoring poacher
Chico: He’s basically a spent force and has not impressed at all. He’s not going to get the service he needs as we don’t play that way. Needs a Chinese bidder .
Haller: For all that’s been said you won’t see him at his best until it’s a real match. As the promise will come good once we start.

Tactically, I’ll send the players out and let them get on with it.They are all talented and the general play is to use their skills to out play the opposition. Despite all the analysts the club employs I still don’t change things . Tactically, our attacking corners are still a mess as we don’t have anyone who can be counted on to put the ball where it’s needed from either side . We are big enough as a unit but don’t impose as we should. Defending we are as bad with two players wasted ahead of the front post and none on the posts . We have a keeper who doesn’t come and so we have to be sure we win the ball, and too often we don’t. We should also stop defending with 11 players. Leave one up. Lanzini , Fornals, Yarmelenko could all win a race v a back two of the opposition. If we leave one up , they have to leave two back. which means they can only have 7 in the box against our ten. Basics really. For free kicks stop the pointless tap to another play. Just put the extra player in the box and cross the damn thing. And on free kicks sort out who the specialist free kick taker and stick with them. You don’t need three players to decide that and then waste it. We must take advantage of attacking options and not waste them.

There are high expectations for the team this season and I will be aiming as high as possible but this season I will not mess up the Cup runs like last season. With the women having been to Wembley now it’s the men’s turn. The Cups have been an excuse to use squad players for game time, this season it will be a first team objective to get to Wembley and reward the fans. Losing a couple of places in the final league table for a Cup Final is a gamble worth taking. Get your claret ribbons ready.

We will be entering a new season with the stadium becoming less foreign as the players we have don’t have the history. If the supports stays loud and proud then it can become a fortress . It’s going to see great football this season and with VAR plenty of goals . We should be able to move up the table again this season and that is the aim.I can almost guarantee that this will be one hell of a season and one to remember . The women have made some fantastic signings and it’s imperative that we take both teams onto the next level. The club has the best supporters, now it’s time to reward them, like I get with my huge salary. Only this season I am going to earn it. Champions League and Wembley , here we come. Don’t go to bed early.


Match Report

Crazy, crazy, crazy.

After watching the TV series, I’m rereading Catch 22. It has to be one of the most hilarious novels ever. The main character, Yossarian, a bombardier, asks the doctor why he can’t be grounded as he is crazy. The doctor tells him you’ve got to be crazy to fly bombers and only a sane man would ask to be grounded, so Yossarian can’t be grounded because he must be sane to ask to be grounded.

On many levels , the whole game of football is crazy. The players are crazy, because the amount of money they earn must be the greatest disincentive to playing football. I am sure that Payet and Arnautovic went crazy, or perhaps they were the only sane ones – they took the money and stopped playing to the best of their ability.
Indeed, the amount of money swilling around the game is crazy. Now the craziness has extended to China.

The club owners are definitely crazy. Why would a billionaire waste a lot of his money, so that fans could throw coins at him and he has to hide behind a glass screen when he watches his team? Why is he not content to feed his carp and sit at home on his throne like chairs? Does a pornographer really believe he is going to achieve salvation by running a football team?

The next level of craziness is the amount of money wasted on managers. I am sure most of the fans could do the job. In fact, it would be better to have a computer programme acting as manager. It was once believed that a computer could never beat a Grand Master at chess. That was accomplished many years ago. What could be better that having a computer tracking each player’s performance – the distance they are running, the passes they make, the tackles they make and their positioning. I am sure it would be a great incentive for a player if they knew a computer was constantly analysing their performance. A computer would also analyse game plans and formulate the best plan against a particular team.

The London Stadium is completely crazy. Another £6 million was spent on removing seats over the summer and another £4 million on legal fees to get West Ham to pay more. West Ham only pay £2.5 million per year. However, everybody involved here is really crazy because the stadium is crap.

The pre-season friendlies were completely crazy. We let in an average of 2 goals per game. What is to be learnt here? Only that you’d better take a few happy pills before watching the first game against Man City. Oh, and perhaps also that we are playing the wrong system and need a few real defenders.

The fans. We are all absolutely crazy. We have this tribal like instinct to support our club, when the only factor that counts is the money a club receives for TV rights, which is then spent on mainly foreign players, in the hope they can settle down in the UK, even though they may not speak the language and are far from home. Wasn’t it better when our players came from our local area? Was football less enjoyable when I watched Moore , Hurst and Peters? Why did we not just buy a Prime Minister from abroad, rather than having Boris?

The United Kingdom is crazy. What other country in the world has four football associations and insists on fielding four national sides. When Germany was reunited, they stopped playing as West Germany and East Germany. Instead, we have suffered years of frustration and missed out on the outstanding talents of players like Giggs and Bale.

Now, we are going to suffer a year of VAR craziness. I thought handball had to be deliberate. Now, if an attacker ducks and it hits a defender on the arm, that is a penalty.

COYI, I’m bored with summer. Bring on the craziness.


The HamburgHammer Column

Let the show begin - fasten your seatbelts!

Embed from Getty Images

Let me begin by selfishly congratulating my nephew Daniel to his 12th birthday today – he has gone through a few West Ham shirts (presents from his uncle) already in his lifetime and one fine day, despite Brexit, I hope to bring him to London to watch a game and pick up something in claret and blue from the club shop too of course. We’re having a lovely birthday barbecue with the family in the sun later today and it should be a jolly nice affair with some lovely food thrown in for good measure.

As for our final preseason game against the mighty Bilbao, well, it wasn’t exactly jolly but entertaining enough. Our goals were beautiful team collaborations while those we conceded were either unlucky or simply not defended well enough, but once again, you wouldn’t expect any defender to be as sharp in a preseason game as we all hope they are going to be once the league fixtures have arrived – which is basically not far off at all now. Only a few more days and life will be back to normal, with regular West Ham games at the weekend. It’s about time…

Embed from Getty Images

We also have the final stage of the transfer window to endure this week and, frankly, when it comes to West Ham I’m going into those final days with NO expectation or anticipation WHATSOEVER.

All those stories about us being skint, having blown all our money on Fornals and Haller basically, well, those stories no longer wash with me. But I also know there’s nothing I can do or write that’ll change anything in that regard. Our board will spend (or not) as they see fit which is their prerogative as owners.

If we make some more signings I will welcome them at West Ham with wide-open arms, if we don’t sign anyone else at least I will no longer be surprised or bemused by it…

Offensively our team could be a revelation this season, provided the main protagonists can stay fit, healthy and available. Just imagine the likes of Lanzini, Anderson, Fornals, Antonio, Yarmolenko and Haller developing some chemistry in training and the upcoming matches and right there you have a blueprint for most PL defenders’ worst nightmare.

On the other side of the ball though we (still) look shaky and highly suspect. Again, preseason games are not the best sample size to evaluate your back four’s true quality. Why bust a gut or over-stretch for a ball in a glamour friendly if injury could put you out for several league matches when things really matter ?

Also, Fabianski has been out for the latter part of preseason and we all know how he oozes class and competence which in return lifts the performances of his defenders and vice versa.

The Winston Reid issue though is a curious one.

Embed from Getty Images

He’s been out such a long time that people are always going to question whether he can ever return to the form we all witnessed when he was our best defender by a country mile.

Now we’re hearing he’s being rested regularly, his gametime monitored and managed, so he can ease himself into proceedings slowly which sounds like a straightforward and wise plan. I for one hope Reid can make a proper comeback as indeed we could do with another experiencedoption at CB this season.

Aaron Long has been rumoured to be a potential signing for us in the next few days, one of the best young-ish defenders in the MLS, who also has a fairly low release fee at his current club New York Red Bulls. There appear to be some work permit issues, but it doesn’t really sound like a massive hurdle at this stage which could prevent a transfer in the near future. To be fair though, we could also do with another striker and also a DM, but we are skint apparently, aren’t we ?

Embed from Getty Images

As always, at the start of a new season, I am both excited and optimistic, I fancy us to turn some heads this season, hopefully for all the right reasons.
I would expect us to improve slightly on out league position, but maybe not massively. Top 6 ? Not sure we have spent quite enough on new players for that to happen.
Our squad is too unbalanced for that to happen methinks. And we know that West Ham United as a club are topsy-turvy personified.

We’ll get injuries, we’ll still get bad refereeing calls, we may concede more penalties given by VAR this season than we are being awarded at the other end. I am fairly optimistic though that we won’t see a player throwing out his toys out of the pram this season, derailing our season in the process. One cannot be too certain of course, but again, I’m optimistic…COYI!!!

Embed from Getty Images

A heartfelt welcome to my fellow German Katharina Baunach, yet another Kraut lacing her boots for the West Ham Women’s team next season, three in total now! Baunach is 30 years old, she was a winner of league titles and cups both with Bayern Munich and VFL Wolfsburg and she is a super-solid no-nonsense defender. I didn’t find any videos of her on Youtube, showboating in front of supermarket entrances, doing backheels or scoring a multitude of goals for club and country.

That’s probably because her game is about defending first and foremost, not about flicks and tricks. But you don’t get to play for and win things at powerhouse clubs like Bayern and Wolfsburg if you’re a minger.

So Katharina sounds like another decent addition that will make our side a better one, on and off the pitch. And of course you can never have enough Krauts in your team, can you ? ;-))

Embed from Getty Images

Hamburg football update: A mixed bag really. St.Pauli lost 1:3 at home to Fuerth and the pressure is building already after just two games. With plenty of injured players, surely the club from the redlight district will need to make some quickfire emergency signings if they don’t want to find themselves at the wrong end of the table straight away.

Hamburg SV are hoping for their first win of the season when they take on Nuremberg, away, later this evening.

The Concordia first team are still in the local cup competition (where the games are coming thick and fast with the next one being played tomorrow evening), however, in the league calendar they have now suffered their first defeat, 2:4 away to Sasel. Tough game, but there is no time to mope and moan, as the next games are looming large already, the cup game tomorrow and the next league fixture at home on Friday evening.

The Cordi U23s meanwhile are suffering from numerous injuries and some ill discipline as well with sendings off galore, resulting in a tough start to their season. They lost their recent cup game 3:4, having two players sent off including the goalkeeper for handling the ball outside the box and then got walloped 1:7 against the same opponent a few days later on Saturday, having not a single substitute on the bench. At this point it’s all pointing towards an uphill climb for the boys this season…

And the Cordi Women’s team played their final preseason game, away to the third string of the mighty St.Pauli women’s side. They did Concordia proud, winning 2:1 not far from the notorious Reeperbahn.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

If I Can Dream...

There must be lights burning brighter, somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true
oh why

Part of being a football fan is we dream. We dream of trophies and titles, of being entertained by goal scorers and gifted wingers. Brookings Devonshir’s and Frank Lampards at Elland Road. Away wins at Anfield to cup wins at Wembley. The start of the season is for dreaming. Elvis dreamed of a better land, where all his brothers could walk hand in hand. Well, it seems so did thousands and thousands of West Ham fans. A better land in Stratford has yet to be delivered for many but some will say it already has been. Whether all the claret & brothers (& sisters) can walk hand in hand I’m not sure. Discourse is never far away it seems, Twitter can be a battlefield and I hold my hand up. I can be antagonistic up with the best wind up merchants. Recently I have tried to take a look at what can we do to come together more as a fan base. Frankly, it’s just a dream. There is too much division amongst our fan base, division over the owners, the stadium, players, even who can give us the best news. Division surrounds us.

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away all the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why, won’t that sun appear

 
How can peace & understanding be brought about between factions? That I don’t have the answer to, but the only thing that comes to mind is a change of ownership. That will mean that all sides can unite behind a new leadership not tainted by the many that see the Daves as destroyers of dreams, not makers. Until that time though should we give up on peace and understanding?

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

How though can one redeem his soul? Well, perhaps by acknowledging one’s faults and trying to change. To that point above I acknowledge how I can antagonise & wind people up. But that is not enough, so I need to change. Not only change though, but I also need to apologise to those I have at times overstepped the mark with. So, if in the past I have offended personally anyone reading this I do apologise, and I hope in the future to never repeat my actions. Sometimes stupidity can overtake me and going forward I hope to avoid such actions.

Jimmy Cooney, ill never see eye to eye with you, I still think you’re a drama queen at times and think you need professional help, but I say that now with no malice.
As for anyone else, all I can do is say I hope we can draw a line in the sand and leave past indiscretion’s to the past and accept this apology. 
Don’t get me wrong though, this extends to the west ham fanbase, not to the owners or their sidekick that is supposed to run the club.
As I said above, to truly heal this club, they must leave. Too many, myself included, will never forgive, nor forget how they took us to this so-called promised land of dreams.
 
So as we enter the new season, I hope it’s a season where dreams do come true, but if it doesn’t, never mind. Next year’s dream is just 12 months away. Until then let us sing along with Elvis………

Deep in my heart, there’s a trembling question
Still, I am sure that the answer gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true, right now
Let it come true right now
Oh yeah


Copyright © 2019 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.