West Ham have now reached a crossroads in what direction they head in next season when it comes to signing players. Do they go for big names in the hope that it can lift the team and at the same raise the club’s profile? Or do they go for players who could potentially be big players in the future? Both methods have their ups and downs and it’s going to be difficult for them to decide what do.
The Hammers have recently been knocked back in their attempts to sign young Barcelona defender Andreu Fontas. The Spaniard has a release clause of just £2.5m in his contract, and with West Ham offering that amount Barcelona had to allow them to discuss terms with the player and they were set to conclude a deal for him. However it now appears that Barcelona have persuaded the 20-year-old to stay at the Nou Camp as he is set to sign a new deal in the coming days.
Although it may come as blow to West Ham fans it may not be the worst thing in the world that this deal didn’t happen, remember Savio Nsrenko? The German midfielder was signed by the East London club for a record fee of £9m from Brescia. However he failed to settle at the club and looked off the pace in the Premiership, just six months later he was sold to Fiorentina. You could argue that West Ham didn’t give him a fair chance as at the time he was just 19-years-old and had only just moved to London. He would have taken a lot of time to settle not just on the pitch but off it as well and even experienced players can take a year to settle, but whether West Ham made a mistake in getting rid of him or not will only be proven in years to come.
The other route for West Ham to go down is trying to make some marquee signings like David Beckham and Thierry Henry who the club have previously been linked with. Players like Beckham and Henry despite their advancing years still have a lot left in them, and because of their quality are still capable of producing moments of magic. Having players like them around would give a massive lift to the dressing room and could have a big effect on the whole team as well. From a commercial point of view marquee signings would also generate more income for the club due to shirt and ticket sales. But signing big name players doesn’t always work and West Ham know this all too well after they decided to sign Freddie Ljungberg from Arsenal. The Swedish winger was a great player for Arsenal but couldn’t replicate the form at West Ham, after just one season at the club they paid him £6m to terminate his four-year contract early.
Whatever approach West Ham decide to take they will need to weigh it up carefully as both have positives and negatives, and the last thing they want to do is spend a fortune again on players who don’t make an impact like Savio and Ljungberg. David Gold and David Sullivan surely won’t let the same mistakes happen again; and they should be able to come up with an effective transfer strategy alongside new manager Avram Grant to take the club forward.
What type of signings do you think West Ham need to make?