Transfer power struggle ongoing at West Ham claims report

29 Jul, 2023
written by Sean Whetstone

West Ham supporter Guardian journalist Jacob Steinberg has spilt the beans on the West Ham power struggle happening this summer.

Steinberg writes in the Guardian “The recruitment strategy at West Ham remains anything but smooth, even with Tim Steidten brought in as the technical director earlier this month. A scattergun process has slowed things down and the German’s appointment, far from ushering in a new era of collaboration, has confused matters.

The problem is that Steidten can be forgiven for wondering why he was hired. One of his picks is Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana, a 24-year-old France international, but Moyes is unsure. Fofana is likely to move elsewhere and Steidten, formerly of Bayer Leverkusen, is said to be frustrated. Some wonder whether he will last. Others suggest that Moyes, who has lost Mark Warburton and Paul Nevin from his backroom staff this summer, will go if West Ham start badly.

These are uncertain times. Moyes has worked closely with Rob Newman, who was appointed as head of recruitment two years ago, but West Ham felt a change was necessary. They were unhappy with their transfer business under Moyes and Newman, whose position is under threat, while considering that Noble needs more support as in his role as sporting director.

Yet the complication caused by hiring Steidten when the transfer window was open is best encapsulated by West Ham losing out to Newcastle in the race to sign Harvey Barnes from Leicester. West Ham had been working on the deal since April, but a reset after Steidten joined meant the opportunity to purchase a winger who would have been an upgrade on Moyes’s options on the left flank disappeared.

So much for getting business done quickly. West Ham did well to get £105m for Rice, but losing their captain and best player is a blow and so far the response has been too reactive. Lodging bids for a variety of players all at once is not indicative of a clear strategy.

Moves for Ajax’s Edson Álvarez and Fulham’s João Palhinha hit brick walls, and a mooted loan of Juventus’s Denis Zakaria has not progressed. As it stands, Moyes is going into the season with Conor Coventry, Flynn Downes, Tomas Soucek and Lucas Paquetá to choose from in midfield.

Of course much can change before West Ham visit Bournemouth in their season opener on 12 August. They are haggling with Southampton over Ward-Prowse, whose set-piece prowess would be invaluable in a Moyes side, and could send Downes to St Mary’s. There is room for negotiation with Chelsea over Gallagher and £45m could convince Manchester United to sell McTominay.

Inevitably there will be those who see McTominay, Gallagher and Ward-Prowse as overpriced, unoriginal targets and question why West Ham are not looking for value in European leagues. Yet Moyes does not need to be imaginative; he needs wins. He will look through West Ham’s squad and see weaknesses.

He wants a centre-back to provide cover for the injury-prone Kurt Zouma – the club had a £20m offer for Harry Maguire turned down – and will need a striker if Antonio and Gianluca Scamacca leave. West Ham, the only Premier League team still to sign anyone in this window, have to react. They are due to buy Carlos Borges from Manchester City for £14m but the winger is 19 and has not played first-team football. It is not enough.

There is still too much dithering. The co-owner, David Sullivan, is in charge of negotiations and is not known for getting deals done quickly. Moyes, notoriously picky over signings, is not on the same page as Steidten.

Put it all together and it hardly seems that West Ham have hit upon a winning formula. Once again they risk not being ready for the start of the season, and this time they cannot count on Rice to paper over the cracks.”


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