Transfer Gossip

Transfer Deadline Day Thread

2301 Do go to bed. zs
2300 The window has shut!
2156 Deal of the day – Burnley signing Robbie Brady from Norwich. Class player.
2153 Ravel Morrison is back at QPR. Still can’t help thinking we should have taken him back. Yes, I know. Mad.
1646 Fletcher won’t be going to Leeds. Sturridge won’t be coming to West Ham. Slaven Bilic has gone home!
1525 Scott Hogan has completed his move to Aston Villa.
1349 A most unlikely story – we’re trying to sign Daniel Sturridge. No, really. According to a site called Football London.
1257 Demba Ba has re-signed for Besiktas on loan from Shanghai Shenua [DC].
1145 Reece Oxford is having a medical at the Madjewski Stadium
0954 Sullivan tried to bring back Demba Ba according to The Standard.
0940 David Sullivan has stated that “we looked to bring Demba Ba back in this window but were told he was three weeks from playing after recovering from his injury” [DC].
0935 Atletico Madrid’s Jackson Martinez is being offered to West Ham according to Claret & Hugh.
0933 David Sullivan has told talkSport that Reece Oxford is off to Reading, not Nottingham Forest.
0925 The Scott Hogan deal looks dead in the water after Slaven Bilic made clear he didn’t need an extra striker. This means Ashley Fletcher is unlikely to be farmed out to Leeds on loan.
0920 Reece Oxford could be joining Nottingham Forest on loan until the end of the season. Rangers want him too.
0915 I’m not expecting much West Ham related action today, if any. If there is any it’s likely to be loans out rather than anyone coming in.

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Match Report

Reflecting on Middlesbrough

This was an excellent team performance against a disciplined Middlesbrough side. The players showed quality, determination and desire – everything that can be asked of them.

Carroll was again superb. He looks fit, confident and unstoppable in his current form – long may it continue. His prowess in the air is unrivalled but it’s his vision, passing and interplay that have taken his game to a new level. He leads by example from start to finish and we can only hope that his injuries are behind him.

Obiang was imperious in midfield, consistently breaking up attacks and launching counter-offensives. He is currently the most effective tackler in the Premier League with a success rate of 91% winning 41 of his 45 tackles. He is quickly developing into one of the best holding midfielders in the league.

The whole team performed well and the players look united. We can’t underestimate the effect of the Payet saga and its impact upon Bilic and the players. They have all handled this unprecedented situation with dignity and professionalism, something they have rightly been commended for.

With that behind us, the world seems brighter and there is an air of optimism around the club again. Bilic appears happier in himself and his tactics, along with the player’s determination to execute them reflected this.

Lanzini

Lanzini has started to flourish in Payet’s absence. Even at the height of our powers, last season questions were asked about the practicality of playing both attacking midfielders together, fearing that necessary defensive duties would suffer.

The issue became more noticeable at the start of this season with our well-documented struggles. Little did we know, at the time, what was developing behind the scenes.

Since Payet’s exclusion from the squad, Lanzini has been tasked with providing the spark in our creative engine, and he has not disappointed. He may not yet be as technically developed as Payet, but what he lacks marginally in technique, he makes up for ten-fold with energy and fight. The stats below highlight what a huge contribution he has made over the past two games, as well as his versatility.

Crystal Palace

*One goal (1st)
*Two chances created (2nd)
*Take ons 5/6 (1st)
*Ball recoveries 10 (1st)
*Tackles 2/2 (3rd)
*Pass completion 87.5%

Middlesbrough

*Five chances created (1st)
*Attacking third passes 18/23 (1st)
*Corners 2/4 (1st)
*Take ons 2/3 (2nd)

Hungry players

I thought the club showed realistic ambition in the signings of Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass. Fonte is one of the best centre backs in the Premier League and brings experience and composure to our defence. He will be highly motivated to end his career on a high and he will be committed to giving his all for the club and his teammates.

Snodgrass is a hugely underrated player who is technically excellent and mentally resolute. He, along with Fonte, are clever signings that bring more than just their ability on the pitch. They bring steel, determination and leadership.

These are the type of players that we need.

The caveat with Fonte is his age. Had he been two or three years younger he would surely have had the opportunity to move to one of the top teams in Europe. Fortunately, he has ended up in claret and blue.

Hats off to the board for the efforts so far in the transfer window and also for the way they did it – behind closed doors as much as possible.

I’d consider Scott Hogan in this category and I think he looks promising. However, his injury record is concerning and I’m certain this has been a key factor in the delay/suspension of his transfer. I’m not convinced this one will go ahead as it appears the club could have secured it much earlier if they’d been motivated to.

Square pegs in square holes

One of the key factors in our recent improvement is the return of Sam Byram. Having players playing in their natural position is crucial on many levels. It allows a team to function effectively with an in-depth tactical understanding of their role. It also allows the players around them the freedom to concentrate on their role, rather than consciously, or subconsciously, concerning themselves with covering their teammate’s shortcomings, understandably brought on by a lack of experience in their position.

However, we look at it, having a natural right back fit for selection has helped us improve.

Byram has been instrumental in the past two games, especially against Middlesbrough where he got a full 90 minutes. He boasted an 82.6% pass completion rate, created one chance from a right wing cross, made four clearances, two tackles and two interceptions. His energy and defensive intelligence brought solidity to our back line and his ability to get forward and support the forwards provided a welcome outlet.

Considering his recent return from a lengthy injury, combined with relatively little Premiership experience, I’d say he’s come back strong and looks highly capable of making the position his own.

However, one thing that concerns me is our lack of cover. Fatigue, injury, illness and suspension could all render Byram unavailable for a number of games and currently, we have Antonio, Nordtveit and possibly Arbeloa as cover. None have shown the ability to deputise for him effectively.

This is no easy matter, however. Recruiting any high-quality player in the January transfer window is notoriously difficult, let alone a full back. We also have to consider what type of player we sign. With Byram developing well do we want to sign a similar prospect? Can both be kept happy and motivated while fighting for the starting berth? Or do we sign a more seasoned player, as we attempted with Arbeloa, so Byram can be mentored but also receive competent cover should he be unavailable to play? It’s a tricky situation for the club.

Personally, I would consider the latter option, favouring a move for Ivanovic, Sagna, Zabaletta or a player of similar profile. These things are considerably more complicated than they appear and I’m certain both Bilic and the board are fully aware of the necessities of the team and will be doing all they can to recruit sensibly.

Looking ahead to Manchester City

This game should answer a lot of questions. Man City ran riot against Tottenham and they were unlucky to walk away with a draw. They are a team that, on their day, can play some of the most sublime, free-flowing, attacking football on display across Europe and we’ll need to be at our best. However, they are vulnerable and teams have exposed their frailties this season.

Discipline, controlled aggression and concentration will all be key factors in this contest. Our defence will be strong and I believe that Fonte will match and improve the performances of Ogbonna in central defence. With Byram and Cresswell on the flanks and Reid partnering Fonte, we have a formidable defensive unit.

Obiang and Noble will assist in shielding the back four and this will allow Byram and Cresswell to venture forward and provide an overlapping threat down either wing.

The team feels more united now and we’ve witnessed the tactical genius of Bilic at work when it’s in harmony with the team. Those players are capable and motivated to go and execute every game plan now, and I think we pose a challenge to anyone in the league.

We need to retain our belief and continue to grow and build as a team. The addition of Snodgrass adds a wealth of ability and grit to the side, and Fonte will bring leadership and composure.

Whatever the result on Wednesday under the lights, I’m confident that we’ll give a good account of ourselves and show everyone what we’re building here at West Ham.

COYI

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Talking Point

LISTEN: Sullivan on Payet

David Sullivan interview on 5 Live this evening on Payet. Really interesting listening. Very philosophical about what’s happened.

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The HamburgHammer Column

Will it be a lively Deadline Day for West Ham? And finally good news on referees

The Payet saga is finally over, thank God for that! I am sure most fans will agree that the main positive in all this is that the guy is gone now. He gave us some lovely memories to cherish, some mindblowingingly beautiful goals and the tricks and flicks Hammers fans love to see in a player. But the more you read about the man the more I believe it was never really meant to be, Payet coming to West Ham was a happy accident, a bizarre twist of fate and it could never last.

I am slightly disappointed we gave in as much as we did on price which at first glance may seem like we simply caved in being faced with an unhappy player only willing to go to one club and one club only, a French club being a match for Sullivan in terms of negotiating and the less said about Payet’s agent the better.
At least we seem to have agreed a decent sell on fee which may result in a very welcome windfall should Payet leave to a bigger club than Marseille in future or follow the scent of the money to Chinese shores – I am sure Payet will be on the move again in a year or two.

We can now focus on the post-Payet era and this will most probably mean seeing more hearty and passionate performances from the lads who actually want to play for our club. In that respect I very much welcome the recent additions of Jose Fonte, Robert Snodgrass and Patsy, sorry, Nathan Holland. I would still like us to make one or two more shrewd signings before the window closes. A striker being top of my list.

Hogan of course comes with a bit of a risk attached to him in the shape of his previously badly injured knee. On the other hand he gives us something different, a guy who by all accounts makes intelligent runs while also being a natural finisher.
But if Bilic isn’t convinced we are unlikely to sign him and may have to look somewhere else.

I hope the club have been doing their homework in the background and have a few alternatives up their sleeves. Maybe also in the defensive department as I am not sure we can rely on Byram staying injury-free all season, not to mention his tendency to collect bookings like other people do stamps or vintage model cars.
Deadline Day as usual will promise much and deliver probably very little, it’s still good fun and it’ll be interesting to see if, how much and how wisely the board will spend the Payet money in the coming hours (or the following summer at least).

A very positive news item which seems to have gone pretty much under the radar is the tests currently being carried out for video refereeing in British football.
It has been confirmed that the use of video technology will be starting in the German Bundesliga as early as next season already.
It can only be a matter of time before the other big leagues in Spain, Italy, France and England of course follow suit as just like with goal line technology there simply aren’t any plausible arguments against it anymore.

As for Britain secret tests for the use of video technology or video refs have taken place this season, covering several Premier League games. The tests were not live though but rather ex-referees watching games in retrospect, finding out if and how a video ref might have been able to change certain decisions on the day.
Unsurprisingly the tests yielded between 2-4 instances per game where a video ref might have been in a position to overturn the decision of the referee on the pitch (or give support to the ref in order for him to get his decision right in the first place).

Rumours are that the use of video technology could be implemented in the Premier League very quickly now, probably even next season in tandem with the Bundesliga.
I have mentioned before that I see this as a measure long overdue to get rid of the vast majority of bad refereeing decisions affecting the future and livelihoods of clubs, players, managers and club employees too.

The introduction of video technology to football is one of my pet topics really and I shall be very glad when it’s finally part of our favourite sport too after being a successful feature in other sports like Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Ice Hockey, American Football and Baseball. Better late than never! You can of course debate the details of it.
Do you give managers the opportunity to appeal to the video referee once or twice per game ?
Do you implement a rule that every single goal scored or red card issued will be automatically refered to the verdict of the video ref to rubberstamp the decision on the pitch ?
Or will we hardly notice a change because the video referee will be in the referees ear anyway during the game, making sure the decisions are the right ones to begin with ?

One things’s certain: The various offside goals given in Man United’s favour this season should be a thing of the past once video technology is up and running.
Just like with goal line technology it will be hard for managers or players of big clubs to intimidate or mess with a video referee sitting in a secluded office/studio which may not even be in the stadium but in a sort of headquarter covering all the games, like they do in Ice Hockey where the Toronto headquarters house a multitude of screens showing every game from every angle as it happens with the decisions being filtered through to the referees in the respective stadiums/arenas.

The next few days will be very interesting now of course, first Transfer Deadline Day, then a very exciting home game against Man City where we will hopefully witness our team showing spirit and togetherness again and maybe also get a glimpse at our new signings too. I for one can’t wait.

COYI!

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Talking Point

Payet deal done as he flies to France for a medical

TRANSFER UPDATE: The club have just confirmed the transfer.


Sky Sports are claiming Dimitri Payet is flying to France today to complete a medical saying that a deal has been done with Marseille for a £25m transfer fee.

Just after 11am on Sunday Sky reported: “West Ham have agreed a deal to sell Dimitri Payet to Marseille for £25m, according to Sky sources. Payet is currently travelling to France for a medical to complete the transfer to the Ligue 1 club. The fee for the player is understood to be £25m and the acceptance of the deal brings to an end a long-running and occasionally controversial transfer saga”

Marseille have requested the transfer fee is paid over three years which the same terms we agreed with them when buying Payet for £10.7m in 2015. It is thought we still owe in the region of £5m for Payet and this would be offset against the transfer fee.

Reports yesterday suggested the Hammers rejected a £24m bid plus £2m of potential add-ons so it is hoped that the £25m fee being reported is the transfer fee involved and that add-ons may push the deal closer to the £28m mark. One potential add-on is thought to be an sell on clause which would see West Ham receive the first £7m of a transfer fee if he was sold on again.

UPDATE ClaretandHugh sources claim that Marseille have agreed add-ons of £3 million and a 25 per cent sell on clause should Payet be moved on. The top source said: “The deal is virtually done – the manager and players want him out and there is a big 25 per cent sell on fee involved as well as other extras.”

Well connected Darren Lewis from the Daily Mirror claims the deal is nearer £30m with add-ons and says the club will demand the return of a £1m loyalty bonus paid late last year.


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