First Class Players Wanted. All Positions.

West Ham once again look set to disappoint as the annual January transfer window frenzy draws to a close. Is the squad strong enough to survive?

Thames_Association_advertWhen the short lived Thames AFC (who played their games at West Ham Stadium in Custom House) were elected to the Football League in 1930 their Directors placed an advertisement in the newspaper in the hope of attracting players of sufficient quality to preserve their new found status.  In the event the ploy was an unsuccessful one and Thames lasted only two seasons in the professional game before being wound up.

With just a few days remaining in this year’s January transfer window and the context of an ever increasing injury list, a wafer thin squad in terms of quality and a long term suspension, then maybe it is time for the current Board to consider a similar approach.  Perhaps David Gold could send out an appropriate tweet to set the ball rolling.

If fake news in the political arena is a recent and growing phenomenon, fake transfer news has been with us ever since the introduction of the window system.  Media outlets have recognised that the recycling of stories, subsequent denials and supporter outrage create a steady flood of click bait traffic to their sites and enhance advertising revenues.  Notwithstanding that the majority of transfer stories are pure fabrication, aspiration or hallucination, the window at West Ham tends to follow a fairly predictable pattern of failing to plan and deliver until last minute panic sets in.  The only good piece of incoming January business that immediately springs to mind is Dean Ashton.

With a window that started with the premise that it was more players the club needed, rather than fewer, West Ham have already seen Diafra Sakho depart and (if reports are to be believed) Andre Ayew could soon be following him out of the door.  It was clear from Moyes preference to play Michail Antonio or Marko Arnautovic in the striker role that he didn’t really fancy any of the supposed forwards on the books.  None of them are really suitable or equipped to play in a style that the majority of also-ran Premier League (including the Hammers) teams now set up for with pressing and rapid counter attack the order of the day.  The lone striker needs to fast, strong, athletic and mobile.  Arguably Sakho was the closest but he unfortunately lacked that final attribute of sanity.

With less than forty-eight hours remaining for reinforcements and cover to be recruited the names resonating with greatest frequency are Russian captain Fedor Smolov or Graziano Pellè up front and Morgan Schneiderlin, Tom Cairney or Leander Dendoncker in midfield.

I will admit to knowing nothing about Smolov other than his scoring stats look great at first sight.   Pellè, on the other hand, would be a panic acquisition pure and simply; this year’s Jose Fonte.  Unless I am remembering wrongly he is just another lumbering immobile lump who couldn’t even terrorise vertically challenged Chinese defences.

I was always a big fan of Schneiderlin at Southampton but he is another Saints player who has not travelled well and who now appears to have gone well off the boil.  Maybe he is up for another challenge.  Cairney and Dendoncker look to be decent signings but one feels that the price may be too high for a club who have short arms and deep pockets when it comes to scraping together transfer funds – a consequence in part to the stupid amounts the club wastes on wages.