The Summer Transfer Window; A Missed Opportunity?

Author: . Published: at 8:43pm

This is written by Toby Aldridge @Aldridge_toby

The 2015/2016 Season was certaintly the best season I can ever remember being a West Ham fan; the goals, the passion, the pure entertainment was something I’ve rarely seen of a West Ham side. That final ever game at the Boleyn Ground has to be one of the best atmospheres that there has ever been at a football game, simply incredible. From the singing in Green Street before the game to the celebrations of a late Winston Reid at Winner. Simply an amazing season that would be. Having obtained a Europa league spot… just, I was as positive as I’ve ever been before the commencing of a new season.

We had the basis of a top four side with the likes of Payet, Lanzini, Kouyate and Cresswell in the team. What we needed in the summer transfer window was an out and out goalscorer, easier said than done, and we needed a right back. These are the obvious position that the first eleven needed strengthening if we were going to repeat the level of performances of last season or even push up the table from last season. The main thing we did wrong in the summer was going for quantity over quality. When has signing 8 plus players ever worked out for a club? Liverpool did it with the Suarez money and Spurs did it with the Bale money, the vast majority of the signings flopped and are now no longer at the club.

The striker was the one player all West ham fans were crying out for. Batshuayi, Bacca, Lacazette were all heavily linked, were we ever realistically going to get any of these players? Probably not. What we should have done is gone for these players very early on in the window, they are ambitious targets and unlikely to come off but you can’t criticize the owners for being ambitious. What they did wrong though was that they didn’t establish early on whether any of these deals could happen and so we ended up wasting so much time chasing these players when we could of moved to the next category of strikers: the likes of Jermai Defoe, Callum Wilson and Daniel Sturridge. Instead of doing it the logical way we decided to spend all summer chasing unrealistic targets and players who simply did not want to come, to then ending up with Simone Zaza, who scored 4 goals in his previous season. This was meant to be our marquee striker…. Really??

In terms of the right back, we have needed one for many years now and having to play Michail Antonio last season really contributed to us conceding a lot more goals in the last few months of the season. There were many realistic targets we could of signed for reasonable money. Players such as Kieran Trippier from Spurs and Gregory Van der Wiel who was on a free transfer after being released by PSG.

If you look at our current strongest eleven, would any of the summer signings make the team? None of them would make my strongest West Ham eleven when everyone is fully fit. It feels like such a huge opportunity missed to establish ourselves as a club regularly fighting for European places every season, and now with the january window approaching we need exactly the same players, but now we are in a much weaker position to be able to attract players to the club due to our poor season so far.

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  • dave quill
    29th November 2016 at 12:24 am

    Totally agree with your summary. I would go even further….why when Antonio was one of the finds of last season did we go looking for so many right sided forward players. Clearly Tore is not fit to lace Antonios boots and I have strong doubts that Fegouli is much better.
    Zaza is also a major concern. Whilst service has not been great its reasonable to expect a top striker to generate some chances from his own skills and craft. Far from actually scoring a goal I’m unsure if he’s even had an attempt on target yet. Unless the loan deal is restructured he needs to go back to Juventus asap.
    On a positive note I think Fernandes and Masuaka are decent despite Masuaka’s WBA melt down. Probably the emergence of Obiang has been the most important development of the season so far. Since he began playing and we switched to 3 at the back the signs have been more encouraging.

  • Jeremy
    29th November 2016 at 7:53 am

    This is the frst time I can’t agree with everything you’ve said.
    Hindsight is wonderful thing and I think too much of what you’ve said is attributed to that.
    I’m sure I replied to much earlier postings when you said we needed to keep the faith of the owners trying to negotiate deals and I agreed. They did start looking early but certain players or agents were reluctant to commit so the big names that were touted around and they went by.
    The reason I believe that recruiting in quantity was the plan was because of Europe and had we progressed like we hoped we might we needed a bigger squad.Sadly that wasn’t the case.
    If you look at previous seasons we have seen success from new signings some more instaneoous than others….Payet ? Lanzini a little longer ?
    So let’s keep focussed and remember we all make poor buying decisions sometimes it’s just not been the success this season so far !

  • 30th November 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Great post Toby and I also agree with you Dave. We only needed two players- a starting right back and striker. Now that we’re in for a fight to end mid-table, bringing in top talent might be a little harder. Obiang has definitely been the revelation of the season and I agree, Masuaku, Fernandes and Fletcher have actually been good pick ups. But knowing this, it’s hard to have faith in the owners and manager when they’re the brain power behind these obviously flawed decisions.