In a much needed show of support for their struggling manager, West Ham’s board have reportedly finalised a deal to sign Murat Saglam, Wolfsburg’s academy attacking midfielder.
The 18 year-old, who played both European qualifiers for Turkey’s U19’s last month, is said to have attracted the interest of Tottenham but after a meeting held between Bilic and the board last Monday, Hammers executives have heeded the urgent recommendations of their manager and pushed through a deal.
Despite a sustained run of appearances for Wolfsburg’s academy, not to mention the Turkish national team, Saglam is yet to feature for Wolfsburg’s first XI. With his current deal set to expire next summer, West Ham are understood to have avoided any transfer fee, signing the player on a fiver-year deal.
During an extraordinarily testing period for Bilic, the decisiveness with which the board have responded to a player he personally favoured offers a fairly clear insight into the long term thinking of the club, especially given that the player will only sign next summer.
The player’s agent, Muzzi Ozcan, who also represents Dortmund’s Emre Mor, was quoted last week saying “Murat is quite a talented player, a modern offensive midfielder”, and having scouted him at his most recent international appearances, West Ham are clearly equally excited about this young and versatile midfielder.
Whilst the news is suggestive of Bilic’s long term future at the club, it by no means guarantees it. Bilic knows that a fruitful December, in which they play Burnley (H), Hull (H), Swansea (A) and Leicester (A), could see West Ham dramatically improve their position in the league and ensure that Bilic will be at the club to welcome the youngster next summer.