Tony Hanna's Musings
Just over three weeks ago I compiled a list of players that were under 10/1 with the bookies to join the Hammers. Thirteen players were listed and only one of them has actually been transferred anywhere at time of writing! Bertrand Traore was 1/10 (90%) to join Lyon and the bookies were spot on as we were at 10/1 against. Now that most players are coming back from holidays and some from playing in meaningless International tournaments around the Globe we might start seeing some transfer action as preseason training resumes? The transfer of Lukaku to the Moaning ones might start to see some dominos fall and it will be interesting to see who Chelsea now target and whether Batshuayi is loaned out or sold this window? Everton, in the knowledge of huge incoming transfer funds and a new wealthy major shareholder in Farhad Moshiri are the only team in the PL to have done a substantial amount of business already.
At the time of writing my article three weeks ago Adama Traore from Middlesbrough was being highly spruiked to be joining West Ham. The week before Lamine Kone was apparently on his way from Sunderland but is currently 9/1 (10%). Nothing has been heard of since on either of them so whether there is any truth behind them becoming Hammers any time soon is improbable. Only three players from the list have actually shortened in the bookies prices in the past three weeks. Hart is now 8/15 (65%) from 6/4 (40%), Jack Wilshere is even money (50%) from 2/1 (33%) and Mitchy Batshuayi is only marginally shorter at 6/1 (14%) from 7/1 (12.5%). Personally, I see nothing wrong with a loan deal for Hart at this stage and would love to see Bats at the club but I do have question marks over signing an injury prone ageing midfielder recovering from a broken leg?
So, while you never say never, the following players seem to be falling off the radar. Olivier Giroud, Das Bost, Josh King, Iheanacho, Ross Barkley, Chris Smalling, Daniel Sturridge and Brentford midfielder Jota. The following three players are new players in contention at under 10/1.
Marko Arnautovic Backed in from 20/1 to 9/4 (30%) in the past week and again into 1/6 (85%) in the past few days. He is one player I really enjoyed watching play last season and Stoke were noticeably a better team with him in their side when he was at his best. Always a threat on the break he would be a big upgrade on Feghouli or Snodgrass in my opinion. He does have question marks surrounding his attitude though and Bilic is renowned for falling out with similar players?
Andre Gray Burnley striker and has been backed into 7/4 (36%) to join West Ham. Saw a bit of him last season and whilst he is tried and tested in the PL I would be a little underwhelmed unless he is seen as back up only?
Javier Hernadez formally played in the PL at the Theatre of Moans but now plying his trade in the Bundesliga he is widely regarded as a player who will score goals wherever he goes. In many ways he is similar to Defoe and we were apparently willing to part with 10m for him (Defoe) in the January window so 15m for Chico might be ok business. However, whilst Defoe has proven he can be useful as a lone striker the same could not be said of Chico. If we were to sign the Mexican it would have to be as a super sub or Bilic will have to change his system to accommodate him? I would not have thought Chico would come to Stratford unless there were some assurances of good game time. Short in the bookies markets at even money (50%) his wage demands may prove the stumbling block on this one?
Should Leicester finalise a deal with Iheanacho this may trigger the release of a player we have been after in the past – Islam Slimani. In my opinion he would be a good fit for us and would suit Slav’s style of play? And whilst I am speculating, if we are after one more centre back then Zouma of Chelsea might be worth considering although Stoke City are in the driving seat at 2/5 (71%).
For those interested the following deals look like going through elsewhere if the bookies are to be believed. Andrew Robertson from Hull to Liverpool, Benjamin Mendy from Monaco to Man City, Iheanacho City to Leicester and Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea to Everton.