Filed: Monday, 25th June 2012
By: David Drury
As a West Ham United fan, this is the most exciting transfer window in years.
Ever since we last got promoted in 2005 and Alan Pardew brought in the likes of Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon, Matthew Etherington and Yossi Benayoun, the summer window has been a series of disappointments, overreactions and fire sales (31st August 2006 apart!). This season we have a real opportunity to build on our solid base and create a sustainable but exciting squad that can keep us in the Premier League and more.
Although itís always thrilling to be linked with the big names, in reality we need to be shopping more for the sales items, fishing around for bargains. This is exactly what Big Sam has been doing so far, and itís nice to see him trying to sneak some deals early rather than look for inevitably overpriced Ďstarsí of Euro 2012.
The co-chairmen seem to be happy to let Allardyce take control of the transfers, something that didnít seem to be the case under Gianfranco Zola and Avram Grant. The big calls the manager has made so far have mostly paid off. He knows a good player who is up for the fight when he sees one and itís refreshing to have some trust in the managerís dealings.
With the disappointing departure of Greeno (a lot has been said about his move, now it is time to wish him well and move on), we have brought in two goalkeepers; on paper one looks like a long term successor, the other more of a short term gap-filler.
Stephen Henderson has played less than 100 games in his career, whilst Jussi Jaaskelainen has almost 600 appearances to his name. On the one hand this suggests we may be looking at bringing in another keeper who is experienced, but still has a few years left at the top.
Personally however, I think that Allardyce would like Henderson to establish himself pretty quickly as number one (surely we bought him with Greenís departure in mind), with Jussi there as a safe pair of hands if he isnít quite up to it. The fact Jussi was given a one-year deal with the possibility of another indicates they would prefer it if he didnít have much of a role this season. We have been hearing good things from Pompey fans regarding Henderson but we just have to wait and see for ourselves.
As for our other signing, I think we have pulled off a brilliant deal with Mohamed Diame. To sign someone at the peak of their career with no transfer fee, who is regarded as one of the best central midfield players outside of the top six or seven in the league, could be a masterstroke. It is a substantial upgrade to Diop, and in the Premier League it is vital we have an energetic enforcer to stop us getting overrun in a midfield containing two of our slower players (to put it mildly) in Nolan and Noble.
If he can recreate the kind of form he showed for Wigan in the last couple of years, ĎMomoí could become a key player.
One area it is clear we need to strengthen in is defence. I wouldnít mind James Tomkins and Winston Reid in the centre after both had very good seasons but they cannot be alone, and in the short term an experienced player like Olof Mellberg could be what we need, possibly Jonas Olsson if they are looking more at competition for the next few years.
At left back I would be happy to see our very own Beatle stay. There is an argument that he might not be cut out for the Premier League but you cannot underestimate a player who wants to play for the club and is held in such high regard by his teammates. With Matt Taylor able to cover and Potts Junior looking promising, I would prefer to focus on other areas.
Having mentioned Taylor being able to cover at left back, one player who I think we will miss is Julien Faubert (bear with me!). Donít get me wrong, he could be the most frustrating player at times, and I will never understand why he tries to cross like David Beckham despite it being plainly obvious that he cannot pull it off, but having a player who could more than adequately fill in at right back or midfield was very useful.
I am not convinced by Joey OíBrien - and Guy Demelís fitness is an issue - but if we could get him playing regularly and bring in some younger competition, then this might be enough.
On the wing we do need to bring someone in who can play on the right of the three Ďstrikersí; as much as I am a fan of Jack Collison it is frustrating when Big Sam insists on saying we are playing three up front when he is on the right. As much as I am excited about the likes of Eljero Elia, I think Allardyce should think carefully about bringing in a left sided player and moving Ricardo Vaz Te to the other flank, in case he loses his effectiveness by not being able to cut in and shoot as he does so often.
Up front, I think Carlton Coleís performances and commitment have earned him another shot at the big time, but we need to have someone else who plays a similar style because of his injury problems. Grant Holt is clearly a good player, but whether we should be spending large sums on 31-year-olds is another matter. I would have liked have seen Yakubu as competition, but it looks like he wants a pay day elsewhere.
As for Luc Castaignos, he looks a great talent (admittedly on YouTube, risky I know), but it looks like we will inevitably miss out on him to a more established Premier League side. I do think we should look to give Nicky Maynard and Sam Baldock some more playing time this year, as they have only been given limited opportunities so far and it's far too early to write them off.
So, there is still a lot of work to go in the next couple of months, but I do not think we need an overhaul. With the base that we have, another four or five players with a good mix of youth and experience should give us the best chance of staying up, and beyond. Of course Big Sam has his own plan and I have no doubt that he will do the right deals to keep us where we belong.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by Peter Martin
11:21AM 29th Jun 2012
''This is the squad as I see it and what we need to fill them with
GK: Jussi, Henderson
LB: Linda, Matty Taylor, Potts Jnr
CB: Reid, Tomkins, 2 x others with experience
RB: Demel, AN Other
DM: Diame, Diop (as cover but if a younger option pops up take it)
CM: Nolan, Noble, Collison - these three are fine for me and we don't need to sign anyone else
L/R wing: We need two quick wingers who can put in a decent cross and beat a man
Up front: Cole, Vaz Te, Maynard, Baldock
and possibly AN Other proven goal scorer
So I make it we need 2x centre halfs, a right back, a left and right winger and a probable extra forward.''
11:06AM 28th Jun 2012
''I would like to see more of Morrison, clearly a talented lad. I think if we give him the chance he'll play with no fear which in my opinion will be key to staying up and pushing on. Also I think you're right with Cole but I'm just not sure he can cut it in the top flight as a lone striker and will need a decent back up.''
07:20AM 26th Jun 2012
''Etherington was bought earlier than this and played in the fizzy last time.''
by Ian rudder
06:48PM 25th Jun 2012
''In my opinion a good article although I started to wonder where you were going with the Faubert bit. In the Premier League you need goal scorers and pace on the wings which we don't have and unless we address these areas we will struggle.
Carlton had a decent second half of the season but he needs to start scoring from the Villa game. Players that were in the side that went down such as Cole and Noble need to prove to themselves, the fans and the manager that they are still good enough in the top division.
With so many new managers at clubs if we can make a good start I think we have an excellent chance of staying up if we add in the right areas.''
by Martin Speller
03:19PM 25th Jun 2012
''Couldn't have put it better myself.''
11:47AM 25th Jun 2012
''You didn't like the year we signed Parker, Bellamy etc?''
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