Last summer the West Ham faithful were dangled the mightiest of carrots when Arnautovic was signed along with Hernandez, Zabaleta and Hart…but were let down at the final hurdle when the Carvalho deal fell through, in the position that was of upmost priority.
This summer, the fans are once again looking to the owners to splash the fortunes, they have earned, on players that would magically blend into the squad and enable the club to finally push onto promised lands…But who might they be and what of the surplus players already with the club?
Whenever Moyes decides that he really does want to stay on for a lot longer at the club, then he will have to take a long sit down and sift through the names on the club books and decide which to keep and which need to be moved on. It is an unenviable position to be in but a decision must be made and it will be for the benefit of the club and possibly so for the player too.
Hernandez being the case in point! Unless there is a massive shift in perspective, then he will be looking to move on in the summer. It will be the worst bit of business the club will have done in a long time, however if he does not fit into Moyes’ plan of attack, then wishing him to stay any longer would be futile. For the player, it might be the best move as he might find a club that will value his qualities and will play to his strengths. Undoubtedly a happier player he will be and a prolific goalscorer he will become once again.
Although focus is surely still on the remaining games, the club and management are in no doubt employing their scouts to find the next players that would bring quality and strength to West Ham. The scouting system has largely stumbled over the last few years so any improvement would be most welcomed from all quarters, however the overpricing of players may yet thwart the quality signings that most would really want.
Of course at this time of year, there are plentiful transfer rumours to fuel the fan’s excitement and the speculation is rife, but how much of this is fact…or fiction. As soon as the last bell rings, the floodgates will open and it will be a race to search for the next prospects or established players to supplement the Hammers’ ranks. Can anyone say for sure that the club will be targeting players that will be well known to the faithful, or will they be unknown quantities that would show promise?
Of course, the transfer business is a minefield of opportunity and bear traps that could topple emperors or raise pyramids from the earth. A manager is judged by the very signings he makes and the successes and failures thereof, but Moyes may yet have a trick up his sleeve that would save the club a lot of money but would also be sufficient for his needs. Whether it would fill the souls of passionate supporters with comfort and joy, is another question that will need to be answered…especially if they fail, although most fans would be well versed of such tragic lows from previous dealings.
The key for Moyes…or whomever is the manager, is to build the quality in depth and not necessarily change the starting eleven players. Of course there are many conflicting opinions of which players should start or be benched, however on the whole…West Ham have a decent starting group of players if all are fit and in form. The problem has been with the supporting cast and whether they can fit seamlessly into a first team match at short notice.
Moyes will be looking to his players currently out on loan to determine whether or not they could fulfil such a role. The likes of Snodgrass, Oxford, Burke, Martinez etc will be brought back into the fold and Moyes will have to make his final selections for next season. If he can find a place for them in the first team squad and they will be effective…then all be well in the camp, however the question remains whether they possess the quality that he and the fans are looking for. Most would believe they are good Championship players but not at the level of the Premier League…well, not yet at least.
One can imagine sitting around the table with Moyes and the coaching staff at the end of the season when they have their ‘MoneyBall’ discussions, and wonder how can they possibly make any sense of the proposed names on the available lists. It would be like prowling around looking for the next magical pill to cure all ills but only to be bombarded with placebos, that would cost the earth but would only add psychological anguish. Moyes is stuck inside the arcade game of ‘the ones’ and ‘the zeros’ and will only know which is best as he takes that one step nearer to take a bite. He is the Pac-Man chasing the runner beans in a miracle maze…he must make his way through avoiding the pitfalls, not wasting too much time and energy but aiming to feast upon the next playful dots but avoiding the ghosts in the machine.