I am a firm believer in backing your manager 100% in the transfer market, allowing him to do or die by his own sword; not the sword that’s been chosen and blunted by someone else – the one that would still be at the club after the manager has been sacked for poor performances which came from substandard signings.
For this reason, I’d like to see West Ham sign Maxi Gomez. Last summer with Felipe Anderson, we played the long game and paid more than we wanted, but that’s not a bad thing and I’ll come onto that later.
Manuel Pellegrini speaks of this ‘big club mentality’ and sometimes it’s hard to predict what that is exactly; say a £60m bid for Issa Diop arrived, does a ‘big club’ turn it down regardless, or does a ‘big club’ accept it as no player is bigger than the football club and reinvest it wisely to improve the starting XI? I guess we will find out when such a bid arrives for Diop or Declan Rice, but what is a ‘big club mentality’ is signing your number one target two summers on the bounce despite the hurdles.
It isn’t as simple as paying his €50m release clause. Firstly, you must pay the fee up front. Not many clubs have that much money sitting in their bank account and I am far from convinced West Ham United do. Majority of transfer deals are done in instalments, so I am not curious as to why we aren’t paying the fee, we can’t. But neither can Valencia.
I mentioned over-paying on a player and there’s plenty of examples where this has been successful. I guess a player’s fee is difficult to engage but let’s call it the ‘social media transfer value’ as it’s the same platforms which will have their views and laughs at what they think is a bad deal. But is it? If a manager lists six characteristics for a player and the director of football identifies such a player, is there such a thing as overpaying?
My two favourite examples are Sadio Mane and Richarlison. When each player moved to Merseyside, many chuckled at such a fee, and today, both Liverpool and Everton are the ones laughing back. Both players were exactly what their manager wanted, two players who are one of the first names of the team sheet and worth more than what was paid. They probably did pay more than the ‘social media transfer fee’ but the extra they paid was for the perfect fit. Can you really put a price on that? I don’t think you can but what you can do is undervalue it.
Is it better to get the right man, the perfect fit and the sword the manager wants but scrimp elsewhere. Perhaps it means selling a fringe player, perhaps it means your chairmen deferring a loan that’s due on January 1. Or is it better to get someone within the budget so you can upgrade your substitute left back as well, but consequently watch your manager having to compromise on his style and get frustrated that the man you got isn’t as good as the one you wanted. Perhaps you sacrificed on the age of your player, but instead of a ‘big club’ coming in with £60m the following summer, he is being linked to one last payday somewhere else for a similar fee that you paid.
When you buy the perfect fit, I don’t believe there is such thing as overpaying. You let your manager live and die by his own sword and that’s why I hope we sign Gomez and it’s exactly why I think we will.
The Callum Wilson rumour is just that, a rumour, a warning sign to Celta Vigo, but should we sign Wilson, the man with a worrying injury record? However, when fit, he is a fantastic player and would fit the Pellegrini way, but with his injury record, one injury and we would see why we should have overpaid and just where we scrimped on the perfect fit. That’s when Pellegrini would be fighting with the blunter sword.
I think we have the right manager, a majority shareholder that has learnt and a director of football that’s bringing his swagger and knowledge to the club. It’s nearly a dream team. Now we just need the last piece of the 2019/20 jigsaw, the piece that is the perfect fit.
By Geo Mackie (@redhammer8)
[Featured image from skysports.com]