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Defender clock is running out

By Dave Langton

West Ham need to buy a new defender and time is running out.

The plan, initially, was likely that Issa Diop would be allowed to leave, particularly after Nayef Aguerd arrived from Rennes.

The centre-back then promptly got injured in pre-season and a 180 happened; suddenly, Diop was a key member of the squad who could provide support and an alternative option in defence.

He was in line to start against Manchester City.

Fulham have been chasing him and he clearly made up his mind that de was desperate for the move, as a result  crying off the Manchester City game, claiming his head was not in the right place. He is not going to play for the Irons again and a deal to join the Cottagers could be sealed by the end of the week.

Now, with a clash with Nottingham Forest looming large this weekend, prior to the first leg of the Europa Conference League play-off against Viborg, time is of the essence.

The Irons have the following options to play at centre-back this weekend: Kurt Zouma, Ben Johnson, Aaron Cresswell. One of them is a centre-back, the other two are full-backs.

There have been links with a variety of centre-backs: Thilo Kehrer at PSG, free agent Dan-Axel Zagadou, Bayern Munich’s Tanguy Nianzou, even Manchester United’s Eric Bailly.

This is a symptom of the window.

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David Moyes is not known as a proactive manager in the transfer market and, again, the Hammers are in a reactionary spot. A decision must be made soon but there seems to be no lead on which defender is preferred by Moyes. A bid has apparently gone in for Kehrer but there has been talk that negotiations have also been held with Zagadou.

This isn’t where the Irons need to be at this point of the window and it speaks to a larger point: There has been no real forward planning this summer.

It isn’t just a centre-back that’s needed; the Hammers need more creativity in midfield and another winger, too.

But, again, we don’t really know who the targets are, if there even are any!

There have been new signings but question marks linger over them all: Alphonse Areola was the back-up goalkeeper last season, Aguerd is injured, Maxwel Cornet impressed in a relegated team but it is not clear where he will play, Gianluca Scamacca is something of a punt, and he could be excellent, but the risk must be acknowledged, and Flynn Downes isn’t ready yet.

Targets have fallen by the wayside again and again – Filip Kostic is going to Juventus; Amadou Onana joined Everton.

Now isn’t the time to be identifying targets, now is the time to be buying them. The Irons need to get a move on.

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.

17 comments on “Defender clock is running out

  1. I’m really concerned , players have left we have no depth that alone quality targets we might sign . We need more players quickly with so many games . Do we really want to exhaust the players we have we need back ups and qulirty for the starting 11. What are we doing not good enough !

  2. “……..David Moyes is not known as a proactive manager in the transfer market and, again, the Hammers are in a reactionary spot……”? Do players simply arrive at West Ham of their own accord, then, with no involvement from the current West Ham manager and the the staff that he delegates scouting and recruitment to? What happens? How did Aguerd arrive at the Club, for instance, to compete for a spot with what was then a full complement of CBs, in Diop, Zouma, Dawson and Ogbonna, if there was ‘proactivity’ on the part of Moyes and his staff?

  3. I don’t think question marks linger over the signings we have made so far at all. I think the problem is, there just haven’t been enough of them. But how that is laid at the door of Moyes i don’t know. See if you can spot the conundrum in this scenario…

    West Ham want to break into the top 6 but don’t have the financial resources and aren’t in the best competitions to enable them to attract the best players. To challenge the top 6 West Ham have to buy better players than they have, players that are also wanted by teams in the top 6 or by other teams in Europe that are in the better competitions that West Ham aren’t. David Moyes only wants to add better players to the team than he currently has. How does West Ham end up with the players David Moyes wants?

    I’d love some genius to answer that logically. Until then i guess we can all just keep reading the reactive comments from those know nothing, like the rest of us, about how potential transfers are singled out and how negotiations are conducted.

    • Thank you, Saul…
      My thoughts entirely 👏👏👏

    • Agree with you on the conundrum, Saul. The conundrum is perhaps solved by being better that the other Top 6 wannabes in spotting genuine value for money players in the transfer market, both up and coming younger players and older players still able to compete. That will take time, and therefore patience, as well as the stomach to accept a mistake or two along the way. Some fans have neither patience nor stomach, and too readily criticise when we’re not bringing in high profile names. That will also mean recruiting players, like Bowen, who, on paper, don’t look like blockbuster signings, and the fans holding off on passing judgement until those players have had a chance to establish themselves. Moyes’ record in spotting genuine value for money is as good as anybody’s over the last couple of seasons. We won’t sustain a place in the Top 6 by going out and spending big bucks on players who over-promise and under-deliver, which is essentially all Pellegrini had in his locker.

  4. ljd1980 Agreed.

    The building of this narrative annoys me also, but I guess that it is easier to do than thoughtfully constructing an article. One size doesn’t fit all and this is where the creative slant is at the discretion of the author.

    A player gets injured during a transfer window and what do you do? React of course.
    Filip Kostic is going to Juventus is HIS personal choice it has nothing to do with Moyes, apart from Moyes bidding for him. Amadou Onana joining Everton is ALSO his choice and his right to choose where he wants to go. We DON’T have the right to purchase because we fancy a player. The necessary bids were placed and then it was in the hands of these players. If the transfer fee wasn’t met, I would be annoyed, but that would have a bit more to do with the chairmen.
    Moyes will be blamed for the weather next 😮

    • Not sure you can talk about the right choices until they have played a while

      • That was kind of my point, Hugh: there’s a lot of keyboard warriors out there ready to condemn a signing (and the manager/recruitment staff/Board) before he’s kicked a ball, simply because he’s not a ‘marquee’ signing. Snodgrass and Dawson are two recent examples of players who’ve come in and done a good job, but whose signings were completely condemned by the fans before the ink was dry on the contract, in my view. We should all be ready to reserve judgement until players have had the chance to establish themselves, accept that some players take a little while to get up to speed and also be ready to accept the odd mistake along the way (e.g. Vlasic) without condemning the player, the manager, his staff or the Board.

        • £27m for Vlasic when trying to sign Lingard was extremely odd in my view. Then not to play him too often was bizarre as was the case with Kral. I think Mpyes is a good coach. I’m not sure what else he is ljd.

          • That’s a fair comment Hugh. There has been some signings that are odd, Vlasic being a good example. I was hoping with the new recruitment team, that we will get the young hungry players that seem to go to Leipzig, Lille and a lot of European teams. Why can’t we find Scamacca before he’s worth 50mil etc

      • I’m beginning to find it personal… I hope that you aren’t stalking my opinions, as they are Every bit as valid as yours.

        • As you said we all have views and opinions. However, I will no longer respond to yours given you seem to be a little bit sensitive to them which is odd given that I recently used a blog of your as I felt it was outstanding.

          • i appologise for my response to your reply Hugh as the time that I sent my response may give some indication of my condition.
            West Ham is an emotional subject for us all, especially at this point in time.
            I hope my apology is accepted.

          • Of course it is accepted I take nothing personally. We all get emotional about the club. I have done for nearly 60 years which is why we are here mate

  5. Get rid of Moyes now with no hesitation before he runs a squad that is already down to the bare bones into the ground again like last season, the man is an absolute nightmare when it comes to transfer windows……. yes he has turned us around but now he is well on his way to dragging us back down again because of his inability to man manage a bigger squad,
    Thank you Moyes
    But your time is now served.
    Leave now while you have at least got some credibility left !!!!!

  6. Exhibit A – please see comments above!

  7. Thanks Hugh 👍

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