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.


Player Analysis

How Sébastien Haller Will Fit into a New Look West Ham Team

Guest Post by James Hirlehey

The £45 million club-record fee for Frankfurt’s Sebastien Haller has raised hopes for the Hammers ahead of the new season. There were growing concerns after the departure of Marko Arnautovic that the club could be set for a Premier League season lingering in the bottom half of the table. However, according to Compare Your Odds, Westham are now 11/10 to finish in the top 10. The Hammers needed a proven goalscorer and Haller fits all the credentials that are needed.

There is no doubt that the squad has increased in quality immediately. The Frankfurt man had been touted to join a Champions League team this summer, so it is a massive sign of intent by the Hammers to get the deal over the line. West Ham have been on the hunt for a striker for the past three summers, but they could have hit the jackpot.

What Does Haller Bring?

Standing at 6 ft 3 inches he immediately will be an imposing figure to lead the line. He possesses the quality with both the ball in the air and at his feet to bring in the quality players such as Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini around him. His hold up play could be pivotal in how the Hammers approach games last season as he could free up space for the influential players around him, while Mark Noble and Declan Rice will ensure that the Hammers aren’t left vulnerable.

The 25-year-old can score an array of goals and is as strong with the ball on either foot. That is highlighted by his 15 goals last season being divided between right-footed, left-footed and headed finishes. He is far more comfortable on his right-foot, with ten of his goals coming on that foot. However, his ability to find the right areas of the box to be in for when the ball gets there is the type of striker that the Hammers have needed for many years.

He has been described as an effective striker, and that is exactly what the club needed. He has already scored over 100 goals in club football, so it isn’t hard to see why the Hammers have been happy to part ways with the best part of £40 million.

Where Will He Fit In?

With Manuel Pellegrini seeming desperate to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation it is likely that Haller will be playing in the lone striker role. Behind him, there will be the influential trio of Lanzini, Anderson and the returned Andriy Yarmolenko. There will also be a chance of rotation with the arrival of Pablo Fornals and Robert Snodgrass. There is an abundance of talent in the forward areas that will present the manager with many questions. Regardless, all of these are good problems to have.

Instead, he could opt to change the system and play a 3-5-2; something the Chilean did attempt last year. However, this season could reap benefits from this change in formation. The five in midfield can be anchored by Rice, with Fornals and Lanzini either side. The wingers of Yarmolenko and Anderson and the forwards being Haller partnered with Javier Hernandez. There will be an interesting dynamic to that system, but Pellegrini will need to find the right balance, so the team aren’t caught on the counter-attack.

Expectations

The hopes for the new season are the highest that they have been for many years now. There had been signs that positive things are ahead at the back end of last season, but the need for a striker was something that everybody connected with the club knew that they needed. The arrival of Haller means that the Hammers could have hopes of finishing in the top six now. If Haller adjusts to the Premier League quickly, then there is no reason that couldn’t happen.


News

Lots of Love, Pedro Obiang

Departing midfielder Pedro Obiang has written a lovely letter to West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan. He has left the club for Italian side Sassuolou for a feee, though to be around £7 million. Here’s his letter…

Dear Mr Sullivan,

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your help during my stay at West Ham United. I hope my attitude and behaviour has been as you expected and hoped for, I have always tried to be loyal and show respect toward you and the club. I am indebted to you for bringing me to the club and helping me to achieve a dream of mine – playing in the Premier League, a dream which I have now fulfilled with West Ham. I would have dearly liked to have achieved more in my time at the club, but maybe in the future, if the doors remain open to me, I can return.

Finally, I have to say some words for the supporters. I have some great memories with you all. The first one that comes to my head is the very first time I heard my song. Second is when I was out with injury, because I received so many good words from the fans. Third, the unforgettable last game we played at our old home, Upton Park, against Manchester United. And fourth, the many friends I made in and around the club. And there many more great memories.

I wish you all the very best – and maybe one day I will come to the stadium to feel again the passion I always felt when I was there.

Thank you.

Come on you Irons!

Pedro Obiang

They don’t make them like him anymore. Top chap.


News

Haller's a Hammer

At 1pm it was announced that West Ham have made a record signing. He’s 25 year old French striker Sebastien Haller, who has been quite a prolific goalscorer for Eintracht Frankfurt over the last two seasons, and before that with Utrecht and Auxerre. The deal has been tied up relatively quickly given the complications in modern day transfer arrangements. The fee is £41 million plus an extra £4 million of potental add-ons. It’s a five year deal with another year as an option.

I have to say I am more excited by Haller than I was about Maxi Gomez, and all credit to doing the deal in the absence of Manuel Pellegrii and Mario Hussilos who are both in China. Seb Haller told WHUFC.com

I feel really great,” said the centre forward. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for me to be here. It means a lot (to be the record signing). It proves that the club [has] really wanted me for a long time. I felt this desire to sign me and I’m really happy to sign, also. it is an ambitious club, a nice club, a nice city and nice fans too. For me I can guarantee that I will give 100% for the club because the club has given me this confidence and I will try to give it back every day in every game. I will always give 100% and respect the club. I think this is a normal thing and that I can guarantee. I know it’s a big transfer and there is a lot of expectation around me, and I just want to make people proud of this transfer and I will give everything I have."


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