Has it always been like this? There is now a whole industry surrounding transfer rumours, fuelled largely by social media, the newspapers, Sky Sports and Talk Sport. I guess that as a West Ham fan I only really notice our involvement in these, but we always seem to be at the forefront when it comes to speculation regarding potential targets.
How much truth is there in what we read and hear? I find it quite amusing how some on social media appear to believe everything put before them, and start making judgements on how good or bad the players are, how they would fit into the team, and our possible best line-up to start the new season. How much of what we see exists to tempt readers to read further, whilst being bombarded with advertising?
In the past some of the West Ham hierarchy and their families have been allegedly quoted in confirming our interest in this player or that. But I think that the penny has finally dropped, and there is a realisation that this is not the way to do business. Some say it is a ploy to sell season tickets, but surely if there is any truth in the 46,280 renewal rate (90%, which incidentally is way above the Premier League average, and significantly more than many forecast), and a waiting list of 50,000 plus, then that would be totally unnecessary?
Last summer there was, of course, the talk of the marquee striker that we wanted to sign, and despite the fact that we were in Europe, albeit we qualified for the lesser competition, all the talk came to nothing, and Ayew became our record signing at the last minute. This time around I would love to see us do all our business early in the window, which doesn’t actually open for another month, and get our squad finalised in time for a full pre-season, to enable us to work on a strategy for how we are going to play, with any new recruits fully settled into the squad.
Out of interest I have compiled a list from a variety of sources of all the players that we are supposedly interested in bringing to the London Stadium. The list is confined to a 48 hour period on 30 – 31 May, and of course, it is not definitive, as I may have missed some!
Goalkeepers: Hart, Pickford, Ruddy, Szczesny, Krul.
Defenders: Clichy, Semedo, Gibson, Maguire, Keane, Raggett.
Midfielders: Asamoah, Tadic, Barkley, Wilshere, Sigurdsson, Mertens.
Strikers: Batshuayi, Gray, Iheanacho, Braithwaite, Long, Sturridge, Mitrovic, Mboula, Selke, Kruse, Ibrahimovic, Bacca, Slimani, Perez.
How many of these supposed potential targets can we expect to don the claret and blue shirt next season? I’d love it if one day I could read about a really good signing after it has been finalised, with no knowledge or speculation about it beforehand. But I won’t hold my breath.