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West Ham’s bewildering decision

West Ham’s bewildering Ben Johnson decision

News that West Ham are unwilling to meet Ben Johnson’s wage demands is disappointing. The Hammers defender is understood to be asking for £50,000 per week to sign a new long-term contract at the club. Johnson has only four months remaining on his current deal and can leave on a free transfer in July.

A highly placed source at West Ham told Claret & Hugh, “We won’t pay that sort of money so sadly if he leaves, he leaves.” Whilst I find the stance somewhat disappointing, it’s also not true. West Ham absolutely do pay that sort of money and more besides. In fact, the club has paid players far more who have done far less for the club than Ben Johnson.

When West Ham signed Ryan Fredericks on a free transfer from Fulham, he was earning £50k per week. Yet it was deemed to be a fair wage considering the club had not paid a transfer fee. For some reason, Johnson appears to be penalised for being an academy graduate rather than an outsider.

Johnson has been at West Ham since the age of eight and is a proper West Ham fan. Throughout his career, he has witnessed a plethora of mercenary loan players harvest huge sums of money from the club coffers. Yet throughout, Johnson has always been ready when needed and played in a multitude of positions without complaint.

West Ham's bewildering decision to let Ben Johnson leave

West Ham’s bewildering decision to let Ben Johnson leave

He is now asking for a wage which would make him one of the lowest-paid players in the squad. Johnson is a player who understands his place in the pecking order and has priced himself accordingly. He and his representatives are also aware of his market value and he has offers on the table.

West Ham man in demand

There are at least three clubs willing to match Johnson’s wage demands and pay him a healthy signing fee. Ben can play in any position in defence and can do a job in midfield if needed. Make no mistake about it, he is a commodity. Factor in his homegrown status as well as his age and versatility, and it becomes baffling why the club is stalling.

I think it’s short-sighted and a potentially embarrassing situation. I’m not claiming that Johnson is a world-beater. However, do not be surprised to see him featuring on Match of The Day next season with Lineker and his pundits questioning why West Ham allowed such a competent player to leave.

 

About Gonzo

Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose

5 comments on “West Ham’s bewildering decision

  1. This is sad news indeed. Sad for Ben and sad for us West Ham fans. Other clubs pride themselves in giving their academy graduates a chance to prosper in the first eleven. Not West Ham, it would seem. Ben has a lot of talent but he has received very little encouragement under Moyes. It’s the same old same old story with our narrow minded manager. Maybe if we get rid of Moyes then Ben will have a future at the club. If he is allowed to leave then surely he will prosper under a decent new manager at a different club. Good luck Ben!

  2. Unbelievable if true. He is worth keeping, pay up West Ham

  3. You see can him learning and improving through this season, he has even been impressive in a couple of games ; obviously he has bags of potential & is already a talented player who needs to be focused on in training because he is always learning – you can see it on the pitch. He hits a lovely long pass, (some players will never know how to), but struggles in tighter spaces under pressure (in my opinion), which probably lets him down re. DM. With his Academy skills + Paqueta/Emerson to watch, no problem. At left-midfield he had a cracking game, easily striding through, ball at his feet, head up, looking to make passes and made a difference. That is a great sign.

  4. I’m on the fence about this. Whether Ben is a fan or not has some merit from a romantic point of view – we all want a team of fans who will bleed for the club – but the key is whether or not he is good enough to take a squad place and be paid that amount of money.

    My gut tells me that Moyes will look for a new RB in the Summer, with Coufal backing them up. He obviously felt Ashby wasn’t going to challenge and let him go. Grady and Jeremy were also allowed to leave when we were up in arms, and neither have torn up the leagues.

    Ben has had very patchy form over the years. He had a decent 20 minutes in midfield against Sheffield United, and a few games since, but I can see the club’s position on this.

    The bigger question for me is; if we have such a great, high-flying, all-conquering academy, how come none of them get a look in, when the Liverpool’s and City’s of this work regularly blood their youngsters and have arguably more on the line when doing so. What does it tell an Academy graduate about their future at West Ham when Ben is treated like this?

    If it’s all down to Moyes, then surely Ben should wait until the end of the season to see what happens before making his mind up?

    • I agree, the club needs to get Academy players into the 1st team, it is essential & beneficial in so many ways. DM in general does not use them, which means we do not have young players playing for 20/25 mins, shouldering the game, allowing others off and learning 1st hand to then step up later if they are injured, etc. Just a theory, but I would say DM does not look for the style of players the Academy produces. DM does not recruit many youngsters either. I would guess that within WHU walls, those Academy players who are seriously being considered, would need extra schooling in DM tactics, approach, etc. …to successfully adjust from Academy concepts in training and play, to what everyone says is an extremely structured 1st team, (apart from Paqueta who is too brilliant to be contained). Just a theory. Wish we had a fly-on-the-wall YouTube program following WH 1st team training over a month for example.

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