What a weird couple of weeks it’s been in the transfer market, after we had that flurry of activity where we picked up Fredericks, followed by Diop and Fabianski, West Ham supporters have been left with their eyes firmly fixed on the Eternal City of Rome and in particular the club of Lazio. Their Chairman has been playing the most outlandish game of the Price Is Right since Leslie Crowther popped his clogs and quite frankly, with the deal looking as though it has died a death, I’m a pretty content Hammer.
I know we can all point the finger at the board, (and plenty of you do), but I think on this one we can safely say Lazio were extracting the urine, constantly moving the goalposts and adding bonuses, caveats and conditions to a deal which in reality originally suited both clubs. However, it appears for the moment that the deal is a dead one and we need to move onto other targets.
With this in mind, it was encouraging to see Jack Wilshere being linked with the club again, available on a free and well worth a punt. At the time of writing, the i’s were being dotted and the t’s crossed on a deal rumoured to be in the region of £100k a week with bonuses for playing so many games a season. I’ve heard many complaining he is another Andy Carroll, a player who won’t play more than a handful of games and do we really want to add another crock to our squad.
I personally believe we are getting an amazing player with a huge point to prove to Arsenal (and England) and someone that played over thirty games each season for Arsenal and Bournemouth in the last two seasons. He is also a player who needs to feel the love of a packed stadium in the way the Emirates faithful always had his back and being a West Ham fan, he’ll start on the front foot in that regards with us. Fingers crossed there are no last minute snags, he signs, stays fit and becomes THE player Pellegrini builds his side around. I also see him as a potential captain if Mark Noble isn’t a regular under MP.
Then we were hit with the news that Dimitri Payet was keen on a move back to East London, his agent and club had been in touch and wanted to make a deal. Firstly I think the reaction of Pellegrini in asking for the opinion of the senior players shows what a smart operator he is. Whereas others might have bitten off Marseilles’s hand for the signature of Payet, MP needs to be secure in the knowledge that a boat that only set sail days ago isn’t rocked by the potential signing of Payet.
Like many West Ham supporters, I find myself conflicted over a possible return for Dimi. The world was our oyster in that last season at the Boleyn and Dimi was pulling the strings. He gave us hope that the move to London Stadium truly could be the beginning of something big and that the much fabled ‘next level’ was within our grasp. Of course, the new stadium turned sour, Payet wanted out and quickly the field of dreams become the bowl of nightmares.
I fully understand that many will want no part of a Payet return, no matter the size of apology and I get that, I really do. As football fans go, our memories rival those of an elephant. Just the mere mention of Paul Ince still brings a boo to my lips thirty years on so is it any wonder that the many of the massed ranks in Claret and Blue aren’t welcoming Dimi with open arms and a Gallic kiss on either cheek,
However, I do wonder if we are missing a trick by not turning one of those cheeks to Dimi. He was obviously a troubled soul in that last season and there are plenty of rumours about why that was the case that would have troubled the best of us had we been in his magic boots. If he truly is sorry, apologises to the club and supporters for his actions back then and comes back prepared to work and learn under Pellegrini then we might just be finding a major piece of the puzzle that could make us contenders for Europe again.
Imagine a front line of Hernandez and Arnie being supplied by Wilshere and Payet. As someone brought up on the West Ham way the football we could play would quite literally be spine-tingling. Yeah, as supporters we’d have to swallow a bitter pill seeing number 27 back in town but if there is one thing I know, it is that players like Dimi and Jack (albeit for different reasons), will have points to prove if they were both in our squad as the season begins and when players as good as that are focused on their own personal goals, you can expect fireworks.