Four Weeks Until the Season Starts and Still No New Strikers - Or Indeed Anyone
This week has seen transfer speculation build up to a new level, but still we only have Pablo Zabaleta as a new face in the squad. This week Enner Valencia finally signed for the Mexican side Tigres. We only got around £7 million for him, but it’s another £40k off the wage bill. There are two players who are being heavily linked with us at the moment – Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic and England goalkeeper Joe Hart. Given that our needs are for two strikers, this is slightly perplexing.
The key in signing any player is to be able to answer the question: If we sign this player, does it improve on what we already have? Let’s look at Joe Hart first.
In theory Joe Hart ought to be at the top of his game. He’s 30 and has a good six or seven years in him. However, he was frozen out of Manchester City by Guardiola and spent last season at Torino. Manchester City prefer to sell him rather than loan him, but West Ham want to do it the other way around, but only if Man City meet some of his £140k a week wages. Hart himself also wants a permanent move. The fee would be around £20 million. While that may be quite high for a thirty year old keeper, he’s an international class goalkeeper. Is he better than what we already have? Yes. He does make the odd howler, but we have two goalkeepers who do that too. I see no point in taking him on loan. If we need a top class goalkeeper, he doesn’t need a try out. He’s the real deal. Let’s go get him, and then sell one of our other two keepers for as much as we can get. Adrian has got to be worth £8-10 million and Randolph would fetch £3-4 million surely.
The case for signing Marko Arnautovic is less clear. We could have signed him a couple of years ago for £2 million but he chose to go for Stoke City instead. He’s done OK there but seems to be the type of player that can be brilliant on his day and when he’s in the mood, but has too many off-days. If you look at the comparison between Arnautovic and Andre Ayew on KUMB HERE, you’d have to say that we might as well keep Ayew. And I say that who is someone who would happily sell him. West Bromwich Albion are looking to swap him with Chadli – a deal I think we should go nowhere near. Yes, sell Ayew for what we paid for him £20 million) but we don’t need any more average players like Snodgrass or Feghouli. Stoke have turned down a third bid of £20 million. We should go no higher. It’s rumoured Stoke are insisting on £30 million, as they have to give 20% of the fee to his previous clun, Werder Bremen. £30 million is more than we sold Payet for. And Arnautovic is no Payet.
All has gone quiet on a striker. Batshuayi, Giroud and Walcott all remain possibilities, but the trail seems to have gone cold, although Giroud has indicated today that he realises his time at Arsenal is up. It’s only a month until the season starts. Time to get serious.