A lot of hot air has been floating around Upton Park in the past few months, and surprisingly not all of it has been coming from chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan. After a move to Roma fell through in the summer, Valon Behrami expressed his disappointment at not finding a way out of east London, and after injury hampered his return into the West Ham team in mid-September, many around the club have questioned his commitment to the cause.
But with Behrami coming out today and stating his desire to silence his critics at the Boleyn Ground, can we fully question Behrami’s current commitment to the Irons until he makes his way back onto the pitch in the claret and blue of West Ham?
In an interview with the club’s website, Behrami stated “The only place I can prove my commitment is on the pitch” adding “I don’t want to be seen to be always talking about it. I want to demonstrate what I can do for the team”.
Hammers fans know what the Kosovo-born Swiss international is capable of having, made a successful start to life in east London on the back of a £5m transfer from Lazio in 2008. But a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered against Manchester City in March 2009 has meant the versatile midfielder has been in and out of the starting eleven at Upton Park, and is struggling to get into a side that is currently on a 5 game unbeaten run in all competitions.
An unused substitute for the draw against Wolves at Molineux, Behrami’s frustration is clear, but whether it is a frustration at being on the bench or being at the club is another matter. What is clear is the midfielder’s undoubted talent and tenacity, and with the possibility of injuries and suspensions piling up in the centre of the park for West Ham, Behrami may yet prove to be vital for the Hammers this season.
Whether Behrami’s words are merely placating dissenting voices until January or a genuine plea is yet to be seen. But for the moment we will have to take the Swiss midfielder’s word for it and wait to let his performances on the pitch do the talking, rather than the rumour and conjecture surrounding him off the Upton Park turf.