Slaven Bilić, current manager of West Ham United, used to manage in Turkey at one of the giants of Turkish football, Istanbul club Besiktas. He managed Besiktas from 2013 to 2015, moving in the summer to West Ham for the 2015-16 Premier League season. Most Hammers fans are pretty aware of the manager’s previous clubs, but the press seem to be pretty clueless about what exactly that means and what that would mean for transfer policy and decision making.
A West Ham scout was apparently in attendance at the Europa League match between Besiktas and Olympiakos this past Thursday. Because a Premier League scout can’t drop by for a cup of tea anywhere without the press going berserk, there are different theories as to who the team would be scouting, if they were even there to scout those teams. Who knows, maybe they dropped by for a quick chat with another scout about his mum.
Sports Witness seems to think that the West Ham scout was there to see former Arsenal midfielder Oguzhan Özyakup. Özyakup started his Besiktas career in 2012 and was managed by Bilić for two seasons. Turkish-football.com seems to think that West Ham were in attendance to scout striker Cenk Tosun who joined Besiktas in 2014 and was also managed by Bilić.
Last summer, West Ham made a loan deal with Besiktas for winger Gökhan Töre, who appeared five times for West Ham, looked terrible, got injured and is currently back with his “parent” club until the loan deal expires at the end of the season and he is officially a Besiktas player again. Could that be why someone with the club was in Istanbul? Who knows.
The overall point, however, is that Slaven Bilić doesn’t need to scout these players, he’s managed them before and knows more about them as players than a scout could tell from one match. Bilić was even at the club when both Töre and Tosun were brought to Besiktas, so he would have had some input into the decision to bring them aboard. Well, that’s the way it works at normal football clubs at least, who knows how it goes these days at West Ham. It makes absolutely no sense for a scout to show up for a single game against Olympiakos to “witness” these players in person, they’ve already played for the manager and if he wants to bring them to West Ham, all the club has to do is make a phone call. And further more, the Töre loan has ended all in tears, and why would Besiktas do business with West Ham? Both Töre and the Istanbul club were fairly unhappy with how that bit of business went down, and some ill feelings were created.
This is yet another transfer rumor story without a lot of legs. At this point, it’s pointless to assume that the scout was even there to see ANYONE from Besiktas, it’s just that since Bilić used to be the manager there that it’s easy for people to write about transfer “rumors” without any sources. And since it’s West Ham, and West Ham is “linked” to about every striker who plays professional football, the story practically writes itself.
Oh, never mind, one or both of these players will be signed on a dodgy loan deal that costs the club millions of pounds and after three weeks the club will be looking to get out of it, the player will want out and then he’ll transfer to Spain and start scoring goals. Cause that’s how West Ham rolls these days.