Opinion: West Ham United’s scattergun transfer tactics will prove harmful

Opinion: West Ham United’s scattergun transfer tactics will prove harmful

Looking at West Ham United's transfer dealings in the January window and how it could prove harmful for the club.

Danial Kennedy

The transfer policy of Premier League side West Ham United has been well documented in the early days of January, and the tactics of how they are going about their business have been heavily scrutinised by loyal Hammers fans and the outer football community.

It has been a poor season for the Hammers and their transfer dealings in the summer can be seen as one of the reasons behind this sudden decline, with Slaven Bilic failing to significantly strengthen his side.

It is clear to everyone what positions West Ham need to strengthen, their targets and bids have been made public and so has those knockbacks for what have been frankly misjudged amounts.

Though these stories do keep everyone talking and keep the club in the limelight, but this scattergun approach could potentially prove catastrophic for the Hammers.

Undervaluing talent

An old face was the first player that was linked with a move to the London, with Jermain Defoe been linked with a move back to his first professional club.

Despite his age, the 34-year-old has been one of the most prolific strikers in the league since his move to the Stadium of Light. Defoe was crucial in Sunderland’s survival last season, and has been influential once again this year with 11 goals and a historic 150th Premier league goal so far.

It would seem inevitable that clubs near the bottom would target such a prolific scorer, and it was the Hammers who stepped up with a reported £3 million bid. Knowing his importance to David Moyes’ survival fight the bid was rejected, and with such a frankly low price it is no surprise. 

An improved bid £6m bid was rumoured but they ended their pursuit, it is difficult to see the logic behind such a low bid contrasting that to the proposed £12.5m bid for Brentford’s Scott Hogan. Defoe’s age means he lacks re-sell value which was highlighted by chairman David Gold, but with his experience and excellent record in the league he looked like he could have been a good addition to the squad.

Their second mistake came when they decided to make a move for Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass, valuing the Scotsman at just £3m, the same amount as Defoe, and like the striker Snodgrass has been crucial to his side.

Snodgrass has been consistently linked with a move away from the KCOM Stadium despite a one-year contract extension being signed in December. Despite his clear talent United decided once again to undervalue their bid.

Their bid was rightfully criticised by the masses, the bid for Defoe could have seen as one-off but to see another such a poor bid in such quick succession gives off the impression that the club lack knowledge behind the scenes.

Pursuing a premium price

As the Hammers refused to put in the high bids for talented, experienced players in the top-flight, they decided to continuously overbid for a player that may come good in the future.

Hogan has been lighting up the EFL Championship with Brentford scoring 14 goals so far, which has seen him been linked with a move to the top-flight. Like any English player in the modern game there is a premium added to any price, and it seems the Bees were driving a hard bargain.

It is expected that Bilic will be looking to make an improved offer of £12.5m for the 24-year-old which seems to be a baffling bit of business. I don’t doubt the talents of Hogan and could be great in the future, but the Hammers are in need of a finish product and with a £9.5m difference between Hogan and Defoe it seems that the club have their priorities misconstrued. 


Letting the cat out of the bag

It just seems common practice that clubs will keep their transfer business hush-hush, leaving the press with scraps to thread into rumours but the Hammers haven’t seemed to do that in recent times.

‘The insider’ articles were making regular appearances on the club site giving hints to the side’s transfer proceedings, but a major leak to a potentially club-record bid saw the insider brought to an abrupt end.

To quote the article it stated: "A bid of £20m – a figure close to the club’s all-time transfer record – was submitted for a player from Scotland."

Two and two were put together and it was revealed a substantial bid for Celtic’s star striker Moussa Dembele, with the Frenchman been heavily linked some of the biggest sides in the English top-flight.

The Celts ended their English counterpart’s advances and Karen Brady ended the series of articles, and rightly so as it was amazing they were written in the first place as it set the club up for shooting themselves in the foot.

Creating a toxic atmosphere

Just when fans couldn’t think the month of January could get any worse only 12 days in, it managed to go one better with it been announced that star player Dimitri Payet wanted out.

It wont have come as a surprise to many with the Frenchman giving inklings of a possible exit, and on Thursday Bilic confirmed that the Frenchman wants to leave almost a year after extending his contract.

“We have said we don’t want to sell our best players," Bilic confirmed. "But Payet does not want to play for us. He wants to leave."

The Croatian was adamant that Payet would not be sold and would be exiled from the side until a change of attitude, which can be seen as a good stance but has the potential to create a toxic atmosphere.

Though he has been exiled there is a chance Payet will come back, Bilic’s pride will try and prevent that but as the Croatian said he is their best player and his talents will be needed considering their current position.

If the 29-year-old was to return there is always the risk of a relapse in his poor attitude as Bilic called it, and it would be the last thing that the Hammers will need in what is already toxic atmosphere at the London Stadium.

West Ham United will take on Crystal Palace at the London Stadium on Saturday, January 14 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.