Things are really beginning to hot up as far as our pre-season is concerned with some exciting transfer activity confirmed and our first 2 friendlies successfully negotiated. After weeks of speculation that we were a club with no money, Joe Hart finally became our 2nd acquisition from Manchester City this week with a 1 year loan deal agreed. Apparently there is no clause that allows us to make the signing permanent, which means that after 12 months, Hart could conceivably walk away and sign for somebody else. It remains to be seen as to whether this will work in our favour but for the time being at least, he adds a winners mentality and 70 England caps to our squad.
The arrival obviously excited Chairman Sullivan who took to social media to exclaim that Hart was the most professional goalkeeper he had ever worked with, which makes it sound as if he’d spent quite a few hours on the training field practising his penalty technique against the England man. This irked at least one member of our first team squad with Adrian taking the comments personally and responding with a slightly barbed one of his own. Sullivan’s opinion may have hinted that he was less than impressed with our current goalkeeping situation but it depends on how you read it. Our beloved leaders have taken a lot of stick from our supporters recently but whilst some of the criticism is justified, Sullivan has every right to praise his latest acquisition and methinks Adrian should not have been quite so sensitive. The irony is that it looks as if Randolph may be the man to be sacrificed with a move to Middlesbrough in the pipeline if the latest reports are to be believed.
We now eagerly await confirmation that both Hernandez and Arnautovic will be the next players through the “in” door with both players imminent subject to medicals. After weeks of inactivity it’s beginning to look like an excellent transfer window thus far, with more to come. In fact it’s been SO good that even Jose Mourinho has stated “West Ham wow, it looks like they play to win the Premier League too”. Jose was last seen entering his local branch of BetFair.
The Hammers played out their first pre-season friendly on Monday, a goalless draw against Sturm Graz II. (as opposed to Sturm Graz IV – The Runes XI – sorry, Led Zeppelin joke there.) This performance had some spectators making dire predictions for the season ahead with Super Slav’s after match comment about not being able to score either in training or during 90 minutes of snoozefest football not inspiring confidence. But hey, it’s all about fitness right? This was followed by yesterday’s 2-1 win against Fulham in which we used two different teams during the match, but looked decidedly worse after the interval despite introducing the bulk of 1st teamers at half time. But hey, it’s REALLY all about fitness right?
Whilst on the subject, a quick update on the walking wounded. The recent acquisition of Gary Lewin is an astute one, but news emanating from the treatment room could be better. As expected Carroll and Sakho are likely to sit out the opening games whilst another absentee could well be Antonio who is doubtful for the opener against Man U. A recent addition to the “crocked” list is Kouyate who is not expected to play until the end of August after suffering a “freak” knee injury this week. Rumours that he uses the same personal trainer as Andy Carroll are unfounded.
Finally I’d would like to take this opportunity to welcome back two ex-Hammers into the fold as it was announced that both Matthew Upson and Jack Collison have returned to the club in coaching capacities. Upson has a part-time role with the Academy whilst Collison, one of the nicest blokes to ever wear the Claret & Blue, is managing the Under 16’s. Considering Jack’s sickening injury and the professional way in which he has conducted himself since, it is particularly warming to see him return. We wish them both the best of luck in their new jobs.