The HamburgHammer Column

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This will be a slightly shorter column than usual as there hasn’t been that much happening on the West Ham front really. Our new boy, Pablo Fornals, has managed to score twice, playing for the Spain U21s, giving a good account of himself being pitched against other top prospects from all over Europe in the U21 Euro Championships.
What I’ve seen from him so far fills me with confidence. Fornals looks really comfortable on the ball, with an eye for a pass or even a fierce shot on goal.

He may not be the quickest, but he moves about constantly, making himself an outlet for teammates to pass to and he seems to read games well too. A decent player with a football brain who is still young enough to develop further under the careful guidance of Manuel Pellegrini.
Fornals, surely, will need a bit of time to get adjusted to his new surroundings, teammates and the Premier League, but I reckon as West Ham fans we have a good one on our hands here. 1:0 to Pellegrini/Husillos in the transfer business.

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The thing with the transfer business is that it’s not happening in some sort of echo chamber. In order to do their business every club is relying on movement and deals elsewhere.

Sometimes you need to sell before you can buy which may also apply to clubs willing to buy one of your players. So patience really is a virtue when it comes to waiting for your marquee signing to arrive. I have an inkling Fornals will not be our top signing this summer and at this point I wouldn’t even rule out Maxi Gomez ending up in a claret and blue shirt – and I don’t mean the Aston Villa or Trabzonspor kit.

By all accounts he knows that he won’t be playing in another relegation scrap with Celta Vigo again this season, Gomez is destined to try his hand, or rather feet, at a bigger club next, either playing CL football with Valencia (who, however, seem to be struggling with the financial side of things, frustrating Celta Vigo in the process), trying his luck in the Premier League with West Ham or move to another club in another country with better credentials and ambition than Celta.

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I have also read rumours that we might be looking at Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson as an alternative, but it’s a “No, thanks!” from me. I like Wilson as a very decent striker and consistent scorer. However, his recent injury record gives me the shivers and heavy convulsions of déjà vu. Let’s face it, whenever a club like ours takes a gamble on a decent player with a dodgy injury record, what are his chances to play a full season for us, unscathed by knocks, muscle injuries or torn ligaments ?

West Ham is not the right environment really for injury-prone players to resurrect their careers – cue Jack Wilshere hopefully proving me wrong next season!
For a transfer fee of £45-60m (which is apparently what Bournemouth are asking for Wilson) one of the key criteria I would be looking for is durability. So for that kind of money, Wilson surely would be a gamble with far too much risk attached to it, regardless of the potential winnings – Wilson is a fantastic striker after all, used to playing in the PL, but I can’t see us signing Wilson at that price.

The Women’s World Cup has now entered the most interesting phase, the knockout stage. Germany have already progressed by way of winning comfortably against Nigeria.
England are through as well which should keep plenty of Brits interested for at least one more game.

The Germany team have produced a wonderful TV advert prior to the World Cup, filled with sarcasm and fantastic humour (some of it hard to translate as it’s based on some clever German puns and double entendres, but the translators for the English subtitles in the clip linked above have done a fine job with it anyway I think).

I do like the spirit of that advert, that mentality of cheekily giving the finger, metaphorically, to those who continue to mock the women’s game (despite probably not even having watched a single game in their lives), but doing it all in a highly entertaining and jocular, tongue in cheek-style manner.

Although I have to admit that the scene where the young woman holds up her hand, showing eight fingers, still gives me the creeps, I think there are some remote valleys down in Bavaria where having eight fingers on one hand is quite common even to this day, but certainly not in my neck of the woods! ;-))

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As for Hamburg football, all teams have started their busy training schedules now, after a very brief break, including both big clubs, Hamburg SV and St.Pauli, but also the different teams playing with the big C for Concordia on their chest. The Cordi U23s even played their first preseason game yesterday, in difficult conditions as it was incredibly hot out there with hardly any shadows on the pitch to give the players a bit of relief from the sweltering heat.
The Cordi boys still won 5:3. Promising start!

The Concordia first team will play their second preseason fixture on Friday at Voran Ohe which is convenient as their ground is only a mile and a half away from my brother’s house, so weather-permitting it looks like my brother and nephew will be joining me for this one. It’ll be almost a completely new Concordia team, (I think only six players or so remain from the previous squad), so time to get familiar with a lot of new faces and names there…