Stranger things have happened

I know there’s still a way to go yet until the new season begins – and maybe more importantly right now, until the current transfer window closes.

Plus to be fair Julen Lopetegui’s ‘official’ appointment date wasn’t until 1 July anyway - although we’ve been given to understand our new Head Coach has been checking the ‘stock’ and hopefully compiling a wish list of new arrivals since we all saw him being given the tour of Rush Green by Tim Steidten.

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But when I see stories emanating from those we know to be mouthpieces for our illustrious Chairman – warning money is tight, we need to be mindful of FFP compliance issues and exercise moderation in our expectations for new arrivals, I can’t help concern myself. The thought: ‘Has anything really changed in the wonderful world of West Ham United’ - is never far from my mind!

Sadly we’ve all been down this road before, I fear?

When Steidten was doing his very best Barry Manilow impression, strutting his stuff along the Copacabana, sections of our fan base were getting excited. Very excited indeed! Brazil after all is the recognised hot-bed of football and football talent. Not only that the national team are famed for playing the beautiful game in their own special way.

Free flowing, free-spirited football that is easy on the eye. The kind of football that excites those who watch – the very opposite they claim to what we have been subjected to under the David Moyes era – the ‘West Ham Way’ kind of football they craved.

Unfortunately the first player on Steidten’s must have list, Flamengo centre back Fabricio Bruno snubbed our star man due to a ‘late change of heart’, we were told. Apparently we failed to meet his expectations of financial salary – plus the length of contract he desired.

Definitely one Bruno we don’t expect to be talking about then. But all was not lost in South America. Rumours began to circulate of our interest in an exciting 18-year-old prospect by the name of Luis Guilherme.

I have to hold my hand up here and admit I had never heard of him. Much like the majority of our fanbase I would suggest. But the mere mention of his name sent our faithful followers of YouTube scrolling through their devices for clips of his ‘genius’ – and hey presto, his list of admirers mushroomed overnight.

40-plus appearances for Palmeiras (I am aware of them), a Brazilian Serie A title to his name and capped by his country at Under 20 level suggests the lad undoubtably has talent. Although carrying that obvious promise through to the English Premier League isn’t a given by any means.

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That signing was announced by the club on 13 June. Since then outside the usual outlandish speculation, there has been very little or no positivity on the transfer scene for Hammers fans.

The fact that the one exception, the eventual signing of 33-year-old Wes Fodderingham from relegated Sheffield United as our third choice goalkeeper should have occupied so much space across our pleather of fan sites suggests other news is extremely thin on the ground at the moment.

I do wonder if Fodderingham’s uninspiring arrival would have met with quite the approval it has if David Moyes had still been in charge. But I digress.

It's an undeniable fact so far the much sought after ‘new broom’ is yet to produce anything of truly significant substance – or create any genuine cause for optimism. Some might suggest the Euros have helped to create a distraction and cause a lull in domestic business being done.

Although from what we’ve seen from the national side thus far can hardly be described as likely to distract anyone from anything.

As previously stated, the summer still has a way to go and anything can happen of course. But the wind of change some were expecting isn’t even a light breeze at the moment – and there looks to be very little change on the horizon.

That matters because Lopetegui has shown himself to be someone who won’t be messed around with. If he was promised a budget – certain funds to do a job – he will expect that promise to be honoured. Is it really his problem that the Paqueta saga looks as though it could rumble on?

It’s well documented how Julen fell out with the Wolves board over what he perceived as a lack of support in the transfer market. It was enough for him to walk away from the club out of principle. I’m not suggesting an early exit is imminent, but stranger things have happened – especially within our club.

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