“I’m buying for now not the future”, so said West Hams illustrious leader David Sullivan today when interviewed on TalkSport radio, commenting as West Ham sign Javier Hernandez, one of four signings this summer, three of which have come in the last week.
How can Hammers fans not feel excited with the additions of Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez? All are proven Premier League players and three of them bring the experience of knowing how to win the league, something that can only add quality to the team. All four are also first-team additions rather than the squad gambles of previous seasons and yet while Hammers fans are celebrating at the moment, we should keep one eye on the horizon as there may be trouble ahead.
Zabaleta is a great signing for free, but aged 32, his best years are way past him and in the past two seasons he has played in less than 50% of Man City’s league games. Can he stand up for a hard season at West Ham? After all, at West Ham, he will have more defending to do than at City. His shelf life is probably three years maximum.
Joe Hart is just on loan, try before you buy can be good, as last season proves. Simone Zaza and Gokhan Tore both were loan deals and both failed to impress so saved us the transfer fees we may have wasted if they were permanent signings. Hart though, it seems, is not a try before you buy for West Ham as there is no option to buy written into the deal. Instead it looks like Hart is trying out West Ham before he commits to us. Are we good enough for him? He has won trophies at City and played European football, he will want that to continue yet the Hammers have for years failed to compete in Europe, in the odd seasons they made it, nor for trophies.
In signing Hart for just one year though, it looks as if the incumbent Adrian feels slighted, and it seems he wants out, which when its off the back of a player that may walk away next season without looking back it does seem to be a gamble now. If Hart walks and Adrian leaves, West Ham will need to find two keepers.
Arnautovic, so desperate to leave Stoke he possibly feigns injury, possibly behaves like a disloyal spoilt brat, ungrateful to the fans that have loved him while he was happy at Stoke. Hammers fans are happy with the signing, yet not six months ago, David Sullivan’s son was branding a West Ham player a snake for behaving the same way. Payet’s departure left many a Hammers fan foaming at the mouth and yet we celebrate another for joining us using the same disloyal tactics.
Javier Hernandez is the goal-scorer West Ham fans have been waiting for. It’s only taken 33 other attempts at signing strikers by DS to get there but praise is due. But, and there has to be a but, as at 29, he is for just today, and not a signing for tomorrow.
When these players are added to the current set up, three center halves of James Collins 33, Jose Fonte 33, Winston Reid 29. In Midfield Mark Noble is 30, Kouyate is 27 and that leaves us our strike force which apart from Hernandez consists of the seemingly permanently injured duo of Sakho & Andy Carroll, 27 and 28 with Andre Ayew 27 as well.
While buying for today is fine when its added to the current squad, inside the next four years, West Ham will probably have to replace the whole team. While that could be the same for many clubs, we’ve already established its taken DS 33 players before signing a top striker, can we really expect the current buying team to keep signing window after window top player after top player because the evidence suggests they can’t.
There is no doubting we have signed four great players, for the owners to actually deliver on the promises they made when moving the club to Stratford and they needed the fans to go with them, they need to not just buy for today as unlike the saying, tomorrow does come, and it comes quicker than you think.