So we picked up a much needed win at last against Southampton! To use an old football phrase, it really was a game of two halves. I thought we were absolutely dreadful in the first half! No creativity, no energy and worryingly no desire it seemed! Those of you who follow my Twitter know I used a swear word to describe the first half performance, which I rarely do, but I was that frustrated! As I had hoped, the players clearly got a bit of a rollicking at half time, as there is no way Dicks and Bilic being the players they were, would have accepted such a performance.
Credit must be given to the management team for turning it round at half time. I felt the energy of Lanzini changed the whole complex of the game and made us much more positive. Bringing Carroll on as well was a risk, with both having recovered from injury recently but something drastic had to be done! I felt they really inspired the team and Antonio played the best half of football I have seen from him yet, I also thought Valencia had a good second half. Of course the two reliables Collins and Adrian were great throughout the game. I am glad at last that people are giving Collins the credit he deserves and one I’ve gone on about for years!
As we have been reporting for weeks now on TheWestHamWay.co.uk Payet will return to the bench against Liverpool and the plan is to only use him if we have to. Lanzini wasn’t meant to play as much as he did against Southampton, but desperate times called for desperate measures and a similar strategy will be used with Payet. As Bilic has widely said in the press, Moses and Reid are close to returning too and again could both make the bench against Liverpool. Sakho is still four weeks away, which again could speed up, so the medical team must take praise for how quickly these boys have returned. Collins and Valencia had knocks against Southampton and are expected to be OK for Liverpool, although Valencia will face a test as will Cresswell and Jelavic.
As far as transfers go, I have been told that we have changed our stance slightly and that IF a bargain should come up then we will go for them, but it would be either a loan or a minimal transfer fee. The club are considering a couple of options available to them. The one player who seems to be fitting of both criteria and can play right back and right wing, two positions we will need to fill when Jenko and Moses leave, is Sam Bryam of Leeds. Who “thewesthamway.co.uk” first linked with the club on the 17th November http://www.thewesthamway.co.uk/#!Right-Back-Targets-Emerge/maip4/564b92870cf292344da1828c
There has been some interest in him from elsewhere, notably Liverpool, but we believe with his contract due to run out in the summer and his refusal to sign one with Leeds means we could land the player for relatively cheap in the January window or set up the deal for the summer window when the contract expires. He is the main target for January and we will have to try and see off other clubs for his signature. The club hope he could have a similar impact from the Championship as Aaron Cresswell did. Should we not sign him, Davide Santon, the former Newcastle player, again someone we have mentioned before, would be a back up option on loan.
Another player who we have been linked with again is Mirallas. He is likely to command a big fee, as he only recently signed a contract with Everton but he is one that we may try to tempt in the summer.
Talisca is a Brazilian player whose agent has been in touch with us and other clubs touting his name! He is a highly rated youngster and one we have researched, but one who is unlikely to get a work permit at this stage!!
Lanzini’s parent club have confirmed that a deal for Lanzini is in place for a £7.5m deal which has to be completed by the 30th April and will certainly be done.
We have some exciting news and features coming to the website today and one will go live at 10:30 this evening, so stay tuned! Also make sure you look out for our second Upton Park memories book competition which launched yesterday and closes on New Years Day. Also dont forget to join our forum and help that to grow too!