West Ham received fresh investment from overseas in recent days after Czech investment group 1890s Holdings A.S., headed by entrepreneur Daniel Kretinsky, acquired a 27% stake in the Hammers. According to recent figures from Forbes, the investment group, which also has sizeable shareholdings in Royal Mail and Sainsbury’s, is worth almost £3 billion.
It has been suggested in some media circles that Kretinsky will look to increase his stake in the Hammers over time and become the majority shareholder – thereby watering down the ownership of messrs David Sullivan and David Gold. However, journalist Paul Brown believes the current 27% shareholding befits the approach typically taken by 1890s Holdings A.S. Brown says Kretinsky is “not someone who’s moved on to a full takeover” of any of his business interests.
Moyes not keen on the club being “daft” with new investment
Although there is undoubted excitement at what the new investment can do to take the Hammers from a top-half team to a genuine top four contender, Moyes has insisted the club must not “go daft” and pour Kretinsky’s money down the drain. A flurry of expensive signings may be what the fans will hope for, but Moyes clearly hopes the money will result in more sustainable growth. The Scot alluded to the period “a few years ago” when the club “spent a fortune” and it “didn’t go right”. Moyes said it could even involve investments in off-field infrastructure, such as “new things at the training ground”.
On the field, things are really looking bright for the Hammers in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign. With almost a third of the season elapsed, Moyes’ men are in fourth place, just six points off the summit and four points ahead of sixth-placed Wolves.
The gap between Wolves and Wanderers was closed recently following the Irons’ narrow 1-0 defeat at Molineux. United were chasing a record fifth successive win in the Premier League, but they turned in a below-par display and succumbed to a Raul Jimenez goal.
The post-match xG was 1.29 – 0.43 in favour of Wolves. xG, which is short for ‘Expected Goals’, has changed the way games are reviewed, as it measures the probability of each goalscoring opportunity being scored. In essence, it is a measurement of how well teams create chances. So far this term, the Hammer’s ‘For’ and ‘Against’ overall xG equates to 1.71 For and 1.33 Against, which puts them in positive territory for the campaign.
Moyes’ recruitment pre-Kretinsky has been very impressive in the last couple of years. The additions of Kretinsky’s fellow compatriots Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal has solidified both the midfield and full back areas, while his capture of Championship starlet Jarrod Bowen from Hull City looks more inspired by the week.
United’s links with the Czech Republic date back to the 1990s, when the Hammers had the likes of Ludek Miklosko and, more recently, Tomas Repka in their first team ranks. It seems like United and Kretinsky are a rock-solid match.
United’s new backing and the January transfer window
Will Moyes have any money to spend in January when attempting to strengthen the Hammers’ squad for a top four tilt? Moyes said he didn’t “know the answer to that” but insisted the club’s hierarchy would do “everything they can” to financially back him and help to realise the supporters’ ambitions. Moyes insisted that if he can maintain the club’s lofty league position until the New Year, it will give him a “better chance” of securing additional funds to strengthen.
A centre half would certainly be high on the list of priorities. Angelo Ogbonna is likely to sit out the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign after suffering an ACL knee injury in the rollercoaster home win over Liverpool. Ogbonna has been a real tower of strength at the heart of the United backline in recent months and provided a dependable facet of the Hammers’ spine. Losing a player with such high-end European experience could prove pivotal to United’s top four hopes and, indeed, any chance of pushing into the latter stages of the Europa League.