One joke that never fails to make me smile is the one about the two coolest dudes in the hospital being the Hip Replacement Guy and the Ultra-Sound Man. Now that his team’s limp season has come to an end, our very own cool manager will be joining a host of players by going under the knife with Slaven opting for a hip replacement that is likely to keep him out of action for up to 6 weeks. We wish him a speedy and full recovery and hope that he will emerge far more flexible in every sense of the word at the end of his recuperation.
With no news to the contrary, the assumption has to be that Bilic will be staying in the West Ham hot seat, at least for the time being, to begin the final year of his current contract. It creates both an added incentive and pressure to get next season off to a flying start if he is to avoid dead-man walking status by the time the festive period comes around.
With Slaven temporarily out of action there must be potential implications for the allocation of war-chest funds during the upcoming transfer window. If we are to believe what we read, transfer decisions are collectively agreed by Bilic, transfer supremo Tony Henry and David Sullivan, in his role as de facto Director of Football and as the man signing the cheques from the Bank of Dave. With two shocking transfer windows behind them what could possibly go wrong?
The chatter (or is it the chtwitter) coming out of the club is that sights are set on three of four new signings to launch that leap to the much vaunted next level. The one name cropping up with great regularity in that sense is 32 year old Pablo Zabaleta: better than what we have?, yes; a signing for the future and a statement of ambition?, no! It is my over-riding fear that transfer focus will be on experienced but past-their-best individuals that offer little but to keep the club treading water.
A transfer rumour that cropped up today was a swap with Inter Milan that would see 30 year old Eder heading for London and 23 year old Arthur Masuaku going in the opposite direction. I sincerely hope that this one is from the made-up nonsense basket as neither part of that exchange holds any attraction. Masuaku looks just the sort of prospect that we need to keep despite the suspicion that he has contracted Rush Green syndrome (formerly known as Chadwell Heath syndrome) whereby a player has an irrational fear of leaving the treatment room.
I was relieved to hear that Jermaine Defoe had taken his ageing shooting boots to a more suitable retirement home on the south coast. He is another that could make a reasonable short term difference but no more. The motto: “good is the enemy of great” should be prominently displayed on the wall of the transfer control nerve centre as a reminder of our supposed ambition; right next to the one that says “You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!”