Has Moyes bitten off more than he can chew?

  • by hammer1975
  • Filed: Tuesday, 6th September 2022

I've deliberately refrained from passing ‘judgment on West Ham's summer transfer window business via a mark out of ten until now, as I find it incredibly difficult this year.

On the plus side - all of the players brought in have a good pedigree and they are all ball players, something West Ham are famed for liking. They all have a bit of fighting spirit about them and will have passed the David Moyes ‘effort’ test.

There have been gripes in the background at times (despite the huge success Moyes has brought) about being predictable, negative, giving up possession etc. Well it’s easy to see how these signings are ‘designed’ to change that.

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We brought in players in priority positions, the majority of them are a good age and (bar one) could spend more than five years in and around the first team if successful.

Finally, the amount spent - that demonstrates the intent to progress if nothing else. I’m not convinced about a leap into the top six - recent rule changes (five subs, wage caps, split of TV revenue) seem to have all favoured the self important six, and they all seem to be getting their shit together at the same time - with the help of VAR.

I think the next level is locking in 7-10th, reliable deep cup runs and European football in three out of four seasons realistically. To that end - ‘on paper’ the window looks a very good one.

There are some reasons for caution, though. The players aren’t, on the whole Premier League proven (even Maxwel Cornet only had one season and he was a bit hot and cold, while Emerson only proved he wasn’t good enough for Chelsea).

Even the best manager will never have 100% success in the transfer market - some WILL likely fail to be the success we want them to be and that probability is higher for players brought from abroad. Moyes probably feels he reduces that risk by letting them bed in at training etc, but the flip side to that is growing impatience and frustration from the fanbase.

There is a lot for the manager to incorporate at the best of times but currently he has high numbers of new personnel and a high amount of change in how he wants us to play. That’s a lot of change in a few short months - in playing styles (including formation and tactics), personalities, higher expectations and I’ve mentioned confidence a lot in my prior posts on KUMB as I feel it’s low during this change period.

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There is also a slight feeling of mixed styles in the squad - that could be a benefit in allowing the manager to have a plan A, B and C but it could also cause a bedding-in period that is longer than some fans anticipate.

It feels to me that the manager wants to move towards a smart flexible formation that can flex between three and four at the back. I’m not sure some of our players seem a fit for that and I fully expect to see those players replaced next summer.

On that basis, I wonder if Moyes has bitten off more than he could/should have done in one window with so much change. Will the fanbase (and board) have the patience to let him have a transition season where we don’t do well in the cups and finish mid-table if there is the promise of better possession football?

I think I would support it, but he is taking a bit of a gamble here.

The Premier League feels a lot more competitive this season - injuries, form and the fixture list have already combined to give us a tough start, not ideal for a new dawn. If I was a manager I’d feel more comfortable introducing new players to a winning team and a positive stadium atmosphere - the irony that the opposite will likely slow down the integration of new players may cause some more criticism for a manager who has worked literal wonders in the past two seasons.

For those that like their maths I’d say that this transfer window has an expected rating for me of about 7/10. But it’s one of the hardest to predict that I can recall. I'm two thirds confident it’ll be a long term 9/10 - and one third confident it’ll only turn out to be a 3/10...

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