So I have decided to write this column for Brace the Hammer having appeared on the Three Hammers podcast during the week, which you can watch here. I am very keen to collaborate with other West Ham sites and I’m delighted that Brace The Hammer offered me the opportunity to post on their site.
So this is a follow on from our weekly radio show on Phoenix FM where I always do a section on inside club news. This week we were lucky enough to have up and coming Boxer and West Ham fan Sammy McNess on the show.
Since the show, where our interest was first mentioned, we’ve submitted a bid for Middlesbrough and former Barcelona player Adama Traore. As is often the case with these transfers at this stage, the two sides are said to be a long way apart in terms of their valuation. We are believed to have offered around £8m for the player although it is feared that ‘Boro may want more than double this for the player. Whilst the forward position has always been the priority, it is believed that Slav does also want a tricky winger with pace as well- Traore fits that bill perfectly. Some bookmakers have closed the betting on him signing for us, this does seem a little premature but certain people are convinced that we have a very strong chance of completing this signing.
The deal could depend on the departure of one or two of our current wingers. There is said to be a number of clubs interested in taking Robert Snodgrass off our hands with the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday all appearing to have some interest. If we could recoup near what we paid Hull for him in January, I think we will see his departure. If the right offer comes in for Feghouli too we would accept that and this makes our need for a winger much greater. We also have an interest in Tadic of Southampton as well as a number of pacey wingers from the continent including the famously named Cafu.
Henry Onyekuru can also play as a winger although his goals record last year in Belgium suggests that he should be a forward. We are still very keen on this player however complications around his work permit are causing us issues as far as the transfer is concerned. Other clubs are interested and it will be interesting to see how this develops. Another Nigerian who we are after is Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City. The transfer appeared to be getting close and then Manchester City wanted to negotiate a buy back clause within the deal. This buy back clause is said to be the stumbling block because Manchester City want it to be quite low meaning the player could affectively walk out on us back to his original club for a minimal profit. Leicester City look like they may be prepared to do this but we are still not out of the running in this deal.
Olivier Giroud seems to be the forward we want most and the club have said they will match any offers for him, we employed a similar tactic with Snodgrass and Fonte in January. We will make him our highest paid player as well and for me I think this is a great signing. He has scored at all levels including the very top at World Cup and Euro tournaments. His goals to minutes ratio is consistently one of the best in the league. Giroud is said to want to stay in London and get first team football to maintain his place in the French national squad, so hopefully this will put us in a good position.
The Conte situation at Chelsea is a little bit unsettling for our move for Batshuayi because it has delayed the process a little. Chelsea are still set to spend big and Lukaku seems pretty much a done deal to return there meaning it is likely that they will sell his compatriot. A further complication however is that Batshuayi appears to be hoping a club who are in a European competition move for him and a return to the French league could also be on the cards. We hope to persuade him to stay in London and prove our West London rivals wrong in their treatment of him.
We were also keen on Bertrand Traore (the Chelsea forward) but he appears to have secured a move elsewhere. We had also submitted bids for Modeste, who plays in Germany, but once more the price they have placed on the player is way beyond our valuation.
The situation worryingly mirrors last year’s summer transfer window a little but the club is determined to not come up short again. We have a long list of forward targets and, at this stage, we are confident of pushing through at least two of them.
We have been linked with Chris Smalling of Manchester United and Kone of Sunderland for the centre back position but at the moment I do not believe either of these transfers are particularly going anywhere because our targets and priorities remain further up the pitch, should we sign some players then we may move back for these two although it is the one position that we have plenty of options in.
There will be a few player departures this summer. It looks like Nordtveit will return to the German league. I appear to have been misquoted quite a lot on this following our radio show by the big twitter accounts. I didn’t say he was definitely leaving but I think he is likely to. With the departures of Gokhan Tore, Alvaro Arbeloa and Jonathan Calleri, this should allow us to bring in a few players. We have also released Stephen Hendrie, a player who we thought would become a good player for us, and Raphael Spiegel is likely to join Royal Excel Mouscron in Belgium. This would leave us with Nathan Trott as out third choice keeper so a move for John Ruddy, the former Norwich keeper, could be on the cards to replace Spiegel.
Joe Hart is obviously a high profile keeper that has also been linked with us and we do maintain an interest in him. His wages are around £175k a week. Either he would need to reduce his wages significantly or Manchester City would need to be prepared to pay a percentage for us to make our move. We cannot pay him his current wages because this would smash our wage structure with Hart earning more than double our next highest paid player.
West Hams home kit for the 17/18 season pic.twitter.com/fQKQLXbaIi— West Ham News (@WestHamNewz) June 11, 2017
The new home shirt is the shirt that has gone viral across the internet following its release early in Thailand. This goes with white shorts and white socks. The goalkeepers kit it quite nice and is a mainly all yellow number with green under the arms. We also have a light blue third shirt that is likely to be released in early September too. I have described these kits in detail on the radio show and in my regular place for my articles, The West Ham Way. Here you will find exclusive articles where most West Ham news breaks from.
Thank you to Brace The Hammer for the chance to collaborate.