Buidling Dreams Together


European Champions Historically Bad Transfer Window

As a tumultuous Tuesday ended, West Ham fans everywhere wept a little as their loyalty and love for their club was tested. After no signings yet this summer, news emerged that Manchester City youngster Carlos Borges, who was all but certain to sign for the Irons, was instead moving to Ajax. This after more news broke of unhappiness in the camp, contract talks were halted and a player had to take to Twitter to debunk journalistic rumours. 

Moyes and Sullivan were Unprepared

The summer started off with the month-long Declan Rice saga. Fans understood that the 22/23 season was the last for the England international at the club. They had made their peace with that. The Hammers handled the transfer well. Holding out for a nine-digit fee, despite the constant low-balling offers from Arsenal. Understanding the value and quality of the footballer they had on their hands. 

Although selling to a London rival was a tough pill to swallow, most Irons fans can admit the opportunity to play Champions League football is a step up for the 24-year-old. The primary concern, however, was going to replace him. If reports are to be believed, owner David Sullivan had an agreement with Rice to let him leave after the season. Yet once he was sold, no one was bought to replace him. The question is, why was the club so unprepared for something they knew was happening for a year?

Denis Zakaria, James Ward-Prowse and Scott McTominay were rumoured as options, but nothing was concrete. The club was out-priced for the latter two and a deal for Zakaria has been at a stalemate for over two weeks. 

Solution Becomes the Problem

The club then decided to hire Tim Steidten as the technical director. Moyes had stated that he wanted to follow the ‘Redbull model’. Pushback on Moyes’ targets meant the club were hopeful that the introduction of Steidten would help them identify younger, more promising footballers. Yet Moyes has been reluctant to pursue the German’s list of players. Instead, insisting on signing older, Premier League experienced players who cost considerably more. 

It’s only been two months since his appointment, but sources inside the club say Steidten is already frustrated. Others have described the situation at the club as “a mess”. The mess includes the fact that the club doesn’t have a complete coaching team. Moyes lost two important backroom staff in the off-season. Paul Nevin and Mark Warburton departed, with the former joining Patrick Vieira in France, yet the Scotsman has yet to replace them. 

The uncertainty behind the scenes has meant that contract talks with Bowen and Tomas Soucek have stalled. Two key components and leaders who helped guide the club to European triumph. 

Unhappiness in the Camp

It’s not only the lack of incomings that has been frustrating. There have been numerous reports of players wanting to leave. One of which being left-back Aaron Cresswell. It was shocking when reports leaked that the scouser wanted a transfer away from the London Stadium. He’s only a year away from a potential testimony and has been an essential player for Moyes, both on the pitch and in the dressing room. There were even calls for him to take the captain’s armband after Rice’s transfer to Arsenal. It called into question how bad things must be behind the scenes if such a loyal servant wants away.  

Gianluca Scamacca is another that seems eager to leave the East End. The Italian has shown glimpses of his quality but failed to make an impact in Moyes’ system. The Irons used a defensive scheme last year, meaning there was little support for the lone striker. Scamacca thrives in link-up play and would be better suited in a possession-dominated team. He has constantly been linked with a return to Italy and his agent has pimped him out to Roma and Inter. Making it clear he wants to leave London. 

Forgotten man Nikola Vlasic is also set to depart. The Croatian has hated his time with the Conference League Champions. He recently said: “I’m fed up with the dead-end situation. We all know…I’m not considered an important player here.

“I’m just one of many in the reserve group. I’ve been telling you for two months that I want to play for Turin, that I no longer want to stay at West Ham under these conditions.”

Another that reportedly wants out is striker Michail Antonio. The Jamaican was close to leaving in January, but a move failed to develop. Talks with Saudi club Al-Ettifaq then collapsed last week. Antonio is the Hammer’s all-time Premier League top goalscorer but potentially receives a lack of respect from the fanbase. Maybe contributing to his eagerness to depart.

Times at West Ham seem bleak. Gutting, given they have just won their first European trophy in 43 years. There was hope the club could push to the next level. That doesn’t seem to have happened. But hey, at least the council approved planning permission for four portacabins at the club’s training ground.