West Ham’s transfer business has been concluded after another confusing window. Who is in charge of transfer targets? The board, the manager or someone else?
As we approach the last week of the domestic transfer window, West Ham’s transfer strategy is no clearer to anyone. We spent weeks trying to sign James Tarkowski from Burnley for a fee of over 30 million, before signing Championship defender Craig Dawson on loan and seemingly spending up to 30 million on Brentford winger Said Benrahma. Was Dawson really our next target? And I thought we already had too many wingers?
Well, it once again smacks of disorganisation and poor recruitment strategy. And this isn’t a swipe at Benrahma, I think he’s worth the money and really adds an attacking option. But was there really no-one on the list between Tarkowski and Dawson? And why take the money that was for the defence, and spend it on a winger?
Well for most people in the UK, the idea that anyone but the manager making transfer decisions is a bad one. This is the guy who picks the team, so why should he not be in charge of adding people to it. And the two buys he supposedly championed in January, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek, have been top-notch. So maybe he should be in charge of things at West Ham.
But if he’s in charge, why did we sell a young winger to help with squad balance, chase a high priced defensive target that would be set to strengthen the side for years to come, to then move on to a one-year loan deal for a rotational option?
Then loan out a winger who’s defensive capabilities have been questioned and likes to cut inside to then go and spend our transfer budget on a winger who likes to cut inside and isn’t defensive? To me, it doesn’t look like Moyes gets the final say. Maybe he presents options, but the strategy is short term and doesn’t reflect Moyes’ pragmatism.
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The Board and friends
The lack of consistency in transfer decisions between windows, says to me that the board make the bulk of the decisions, but do not apply any footballing basis for them and have no idea how to manage communications. The way the Hammers got the Benrahma deal over the line as well is reflective of the mismanagement at the top, waiting until the end of the window, finding an issue with the player in a medical (despite playing 80 league games in 2 years without major injury) and forcing it into a loan with an obligation to buy, deferring the money Brentford will receive.
How can we go from saying we’re going to re-invest the Grady Diangana money in the defence one week to spending a grand total of around 5 million on two defensive options and signing a replacement for Diangana that will cost more than we got for him?
The one person who massively benefits from our winger swap is agent Will Salthouse, who made money from the Diangana deal and represents Benrahma. He is in constant contact with David Sullivan and pushes for West Ham to make deals on these players.
Salthouse even represents Dawson, which explains the jump from Tarkowski. But how is this good for the club? And how does Sullivan think this is going to placate those angry at the board for their running of the club.
The board are over-involved for non-footballing people and constantly vary between complete silence and over-sharing, creating issues of communication and riling up the fanbase. Viewing the squad as their own playthings is not what I want from the board at least.