West Ham: Transfer Round-up
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 8, 2016
The end of the 2015/16 season may have come as a surprising anti-climax to many West Ham fans. A rapid start to their first campaign with Bilic at the helm saw the Hammers third after ten matches, fundamentally due to the form of star man Dimitri Payet, seemingly an absolute steal for under £12m. A European place appeared almost a certainty for the London club, yet an eyebrow-raising 4-1 home defeat to Swansea City as the season drew to a close meant a seventh place finish, and a nervy wait until FA Cup final day to ensure the move to the Olympic Stadium would include the bonus package of Europa League matches.
A season with plenty of positives, and a platform to build on, heading into the 16/17 season.
Throughout the summer the position of striker is one that has been most discussed – Lacazette, Benteke and Batshuayi are perhaps the targets of most notable interest. It was thought by many that young Marseille frontman Michy Batshuayi may follow in the footsteps of Payet and make the switch from France to East London – yet it seems the lure of more money, £33m to be exact, and perhaps more promise of success means his destination is Chelsea.
Elsewhere in France Alexandre Lacazette appears to be staying put at Lyon, despite West Ham offering a club-record £31m. The Lyon striker was extremely unlucky to miss out on a place in the Euro 2016 France squad, after 21 goals made him Ligue 1’s second highest scorer in 15/16, second only to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Lyon club president Aulas said “We have had a few calls, but Alexandre will stay. I think it is his desire and the coach counts on him. ” (Canal+)
West Ham were not the only club interested in the Frenchman, with Arsenal also reportedly in talks with Lyon, and ready to ‘fight it out’ with their London rivals, according to manager Wenger.
Most fans would probably agree with the view that a prolific goalscorer was lacking last season; Tottenham and Manchester City boast the likes of Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero, revealing the calibre of player that is needed to make a top four push a possibility for the Iron. Players such as Lacazette fit the bill perfectly, but it may have to be a new discovery with a smaller price tag who leads the West Ham front line.
Slaven Bilic clearly believes that a main striker is what his squad needs – the midfield of Payet, Lanzini, Noble, Kouyate and other talents worked beautifully last season, and a settled defence with clever players improved the attacking threat from the back line. Left back Cresswell impressed many, and the club will be very pleased to have secured a one-year contract extension with the former Ipswich man, keeping him at the club until 2021.
In another position however, a void opens up, as James Tomkins transfer to fellow top flight club Crystal Palace is confirmed, for a price of £10m. Tomkins has signed a five-year deal at Selhurst Park, and becomes manager Pardew’s third signing. The centre back progressed through the academy at West Ham, showing the potential the youth system may have. The club may see the sale as a profitable one, as the somewhat high fee will have surprised many, and with enough cover at centre back to deal with the space left by the Englishman, owners Sullivan and Gold may invest the money in other areas of the squad.
Another striker who is believed to be on the move this transfer window is Christian Benteke, whose first season in Merseyside was not as successful as he would have liked; in fact, the Belgian is considering moving on with immediate effect. Rivals Palace are also said to be interested, but West Ham will be keen to bring Benteke to the club, as they search for a target man to lead the line. One other player who has been more recently mentioned is AC Milan forward Carlos Bacca, who West Ham are rumoured to have high interest in – a possible option if their quest for other choices fails.
Finally, a deal to sign Gokhan Tore from Turkish club Besiktas looks to have been completed, with the 24 year-old winger joining on a season-long loan deal. This follows the news earlier in the window that Algerian international Sofiane Feghouli has signed a three-year deal, moving to London from Valencia, a signing that will boost Bilic’s options out wide.