The Summer Transfer Kitty – Where Has All The Money Gone?

17 May, 2024
written by AD Hammer

The Summer Transfer Kitty – Where Has All The Money Gone?

 

The summer transfer window is open in less than a month and this year promises to be an exciting one for the Hammers. We are already reading that Lopetegui is much more likely to be proactive than Moyes ever was and is seemingly more aligned with Steidten’s thinking.

With so much business needing to be done this time around, it has been refreshing to also read reports that we are already having positive talks with some of our targets. The combination of a new manager, new style, and a big turnaround in players, makes it essential that we get started very quickly in this window. To start pre-season with much of the business still undone will be a major setback for the start of a new era.

We should have an extremely busy window coming, which makes this an appropriate time to mention that the Six Foot Two Transfer Centre will be returning soon for the third time. It’s the only goto central resource around for ‘everything you need to know’ and includes current news, gossip and the progress of our window. We don’t break the news, but we collate and rank everything in one central place.

So, with the plug over, let’s move on to the news about West Ham’s transfer kitty. We have been told this week, by ‘Moore Than Just A Podcast’ host Sean Whetstone, that the transfer budget is around £60 million, or as he initially put it “£145 million if we sell Paqueta”. There are already plenty of misguided references to a £140-145m net transfer budget doing the rounds – do you see what he did there?

Now, you can believe Sean or choose to ignore this information. However, I think on transfer budgets he is usually pretty accurate, and certainly has been for the past few windows. Last summer, he told us all the way through that we would only spend whatever we recovered in outgoings, and that proved to be pretty close. We didn’t spend a penny more, in fact we actually spent a little less.

So, for the purpose of this exercise, let’s say £60 million is the transfer budget before sales, which raises the question – where has all the money gone?

The stark reality is that we have made a net gain on transfer fees in the past two windows. The board and Sean like to cloud that issue with agent fees, loan fees, add ons, references to non legally binding notations in financial figures, amortisation, false reporting of transfer fees, and even wages, but the widely reported ‘judgement’ of net spend is purely the transfer fee.

The last two windows have gone like this.

WINTER 2024

In
Fornals £7m – Total £7m
Out
None – Total £0m

Net: (£7m) 
SUMMER 2023

In
Alvarez £33.0m – Ward-Prowse £30.3m – Mavropanos £17.4m – Kudus £37.4m – Irving £1.5m – Total £119.6m
Out
Rice £100m – Scamacca £22.2m – Vlasic £9.2m – Masuaku £1.8m – Total £133.2m

Net: (£13.6m)

 

Therefore, if we fast forward to the end of this upcoming window and add in this £60m budget, we will have had an approximate net spend of £39.4m over three windows, or an average of £13.1m per window. Does this seem befitting of a club with 3 consecutive seasons running deep into Europe, a record £365m turnover, and pushing through a season ticket hike? I think not.

Don’t get me wrong, when I did the articles on the summer rebuild a few weeks back, I added in a minimum investment from the club of around £50m. Adding this to the sale of Paqueta and a few others, gave us a warchest of around £200m, which on the face of it seemed pretty reasonable. However, that was without properly considering the numbers from the previous two windows.

The biggest concern with the obvious lack of investment and ambition that a £60m budget would represent, is what happens if City (or others) don’t trigger Paqueta’s release clause? His form has been relatively poor since they enquired in January and he still has the betting investigation hanging over him. Adding a mere £60m to what we can generate in player sales for other players is not going to ‘cut-it’ for the incomings we need.

I also worry about the timings, since we will be relying heavily on outgoing sales to boost our kitty. I believe Paqueta’s release clause is only active in either the month of June or the months of June and July. So, if that drags on, we will be well into the window before we know what we actually have to spend. The same goes for other outgoings, even the ‘option to buy’ agreement for Benrahma could drag on until a couple of weeks into the window and may not even materialise.

Maybe, and I say this hopefully, the board are open to stumping up a bit more investment if needed, which would enable them to get started with signings as soon as the window opens. Or maybe the club, and Sean, already know that the Paqueta sale is done and dusted. If neither are the case, then the backup plan had better not be to sell Kudus or Bowen this summer!

In all likelihood, it’s all in hand, I am worrying unnecessarily, and an exciting window beckons! Even if we are seemingly relying on saying goodbye to our Brazilian magnifico, and even if a £39.4m net player investment over three windows would be absolue PEANUTS!

 

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