Super Slav has suggested that we don’t need to sign any midfield players and when you look at what is currently available you can kind of see where he’s coming from. There may be room for one wide player apparently but according to an official source on the West Ham web-site several weeks ago, we are looking at 2-3 signings max and we already have one new acquisition.
As we are in desperate need of a striker who can score and stay fit at the same time (a big ask apparently,) we should not expect much movement in this area of the team. Individually, we should have enough on our books to suggest that there is a really good squad there, but collectively, the sum of the parts didn’t always add up last season. Kouyate was tried in a number of different positions with varying degrees of success, Lanzini was overburdened with the tag of being our only creative player whilst Noble, so good the year before that we were talking about an England cap, was a shadow of the player we know he can be.
Under the circumstances, new midfield signings will fall into one of two categories. Option 1: They are better than what we currently have and improve the team, or Option 2 they have been signed to replace the dear departed. I really can’t see the No.1 priority happening to be honest so, we need to look at possible replacements to potential absentees. If what we read in the press is true, these are, Obiang to Everton (hopefully we have told them where to go), Nordtveit back to Germany (which would be a shame as I don’t think he was given much of a chance last season) and Snodgrass to Brighton/Huddersfield/Stoke etc.
The problem is, there are so many rumours linking us to so many players, how do you sort out the possible maybes from the not a hope in hell’s? I think we can put the likes of Sigurdsson (a West Ham fans wet dream), Wilshere (broken leg), Yaya Toure (was never gonna happen and didn’t) and Ross Barkley (is never gonna happen and therefore won’t) into the latter department so let’s go with the who knows?
ADAMA TRAORE (Middlesbrough)
Seems an obvious place to start as this transfer could well take place with an £8 million bid rumoured to have been made over the last few days. West Ham fans seem unimpressed by this link as he’s a bit of a loose cannon. Blessed with blistering pace and tremendous dribbling ability, there are other, more basic skills, like passing and shooting in which he apparently flounders. But he’s only 20, he came from Barcelona’s football school and judging from some of the comments made by fellow professionals and opposition managers, he’s a real talent who is highly rated. I remember being frightened to death by him when we played the Boro away last season but is he worth a punt? If he turns out to be a replacement for the slow, ineffective Snodgrass who, on one hand, says that he is staying, and on the other has apparently been put on the transfer list then a resounding Yes. If it turns out that he’s Gokhan Tore’s replacement then we can’t really lose can we? He’ll certainly not be boring that’s for sure.
BERTRAND TRAORE (Chelsea)
TalkSport had us linked with Traore Mk 2, along with Everton. One of several hundred Chelsea players who has been loaned out to various clubs maybe never to return. Currently with Ajax, though the season before was at Vitesse. Chelsea has such an embarrassment of riches they can afford to pay tidy sums of money for players that will never have a career with them. Such is the madness of football. According to very recent reports, his odds for joining Lyon in France is 1/10, so I think we can forget about this one.
JONATHAN CAFU (Ludogorets Razgrad)
A Brazilian playing in the Bulgarian League. How many Brazilian footballers are out there that are any good? Lots. How many of them play in the Bulgarian League? Not many I wager. So why is Cafu plying his trade there? The Daily Express suggested Bilic is “keen” and that £10.2 million should get him…..
DUSAN TADIC (Southampton)
The rumour linking him with a move to The Hammers made this seem like a strong possibility about a month ago and then everything went quiet. I remember one quote from someone in authority that said that the chances of us signing him were “5 percent” as he was just one of many players on our list, and was being regarded as a low priority. Talented player for sure who has also been linked with Liverpool but maybe a tad erratic. Some Saints fans, used to seeing their team’s best players pilfered by the big boys, seem to think that they can do without him. It would appear that the trail has gone a little cold on this one.
ALASSANE PLEA (Nice)
24-year-old who started his career with Lyon. His goalscoring record for Nice, 20 in 77 games is quite tidy, especially for a player who is not necessarily regarded as a striker per se, but an attacking midfield player. No French caps as of yet, and more importantly, suffered a serious injury in February that will keep him out for about 5 months. Doesn’t make sense under any circumstances to sign a player who is currently injured, I would think, but that’s not necessarily stopped us before.
JURGEN DAMM (Tigres UNAL)
25-year-old Mexican winger whose rather German-sounding name is due to the fact that his grandparents hail from the land of the Klinsmann. The Daily Mirror reported that we had got as far as being “in talks”. The article also suggested that behind Gareth Bale, Damm is the 2nd fastest footballer in the world. A speed merchant most certainly but quite possibly nothing else. Spent some time at Man Utd after being recommended to them by Javier Hernandez. This one, it has to be said, sounds like a Sully special as Damm has only picked up 6 Mexican caps in 2 years. Remember Pablo Barrera?
DEMARAI GRAY (Leicester City)
Speedy 20-year old winger who is attracting a lot of attention from a lot of various Prem teams though why Leicester should get rid of him at this point if he is such hot property is anyone’s guess. Played 30 matches for them last season so it’s not as if he isn’t getting any game time. Probably large pinch of salt required for this one.
In summary, it does look as if Adama Traore is the target, though Traore is a right sided player and in Antonio and Feghouli we already have 2 of those. Antonio will undoubtedly move to the left methinks to accommodate. If Nordtveit leaves we may be looking at a defensive holding midfielder and we haven’t really been linked with one of them as yet. Time for Joss Cullen perhaps?