According to reports in the Evening Standard on March 13, West Ham United are looking to appoint an experienced director of football at the end of the season in a bid to try and bring an end to the criticism from the supporters about their transfer strategy, and to be honest it has been a long time coming.
Co-owner David Sullivan, who along with David Gold and Karren Brady has been the target of much disgruntlement from the London Stadium faithful for the club’s shortcomings in the market in the past few windows, is ready to take a step back having been directly involved in deals and negotiating with the agents of players.
It is certainly a good move when you look back at disappointing additions like Alvaro Arbeloa, Jose Fonte, Robert Snodgrass and even Jordan Hugill – who the fans have already labelled as a pointless signing – in recent years, and it is a change that is needed if the east London outfit are to progress and challenge for Europe again in the future – as well as helping to get the unhappy fans onside, too.
The Irons certainly need someone that knows what they are talking about to fill the role and to make radical changes, and they would perhaps be better off appointing a more dynamic foreign person to fill the role, rather than someone British – like Harry Redknapp for example – who is a ‘big’ name but isn’t qualified for the role and won’t have the same knowledge of the European and world market.
Steve Walsh’s struggles in the role at Everton having been a scout previously should act as a warning to West Ham, with the Merseyside outfit’s recruitment since last summer certainly raising more than a few questions marks.
The Toffees have been linked with PSV Eindhoven’s Marcel Brands, and he is certainly the type of candidate the Hammers should also be looking at, along with Schalke’s Christian Heidel, Lille’s Luis Campos and Ajax’s Marc Overmars.
Whoever comes in will need to work well with the West Ham manager, and that is one of the reasons why the Irons should appoint a new boss to work in conjunction with their new director of football.
David Moyes may not be comfortable working with someone who would have a signficant influence – especially after hinting recently that he wants full control over transfers – but that may not exactly be a bad thing for the club given recent results and performances on the pitch.
The east London outfit looked to be on the right road to survival following their emphatic 4-1 win away at Huddersfield Town in January, but their form has dipped since then and three successive defeats by a three-goal margin have left them just one place and two points above the bottom three.
They face a season-defining clash against the side below them – Southampton – at the London Stadium on March 31, knowing a defeat will see them slip into the relegation zone.
West Ham will obviously be hoping they can retain their Premier League status in their final eight matches of the campaign, and whether they stay up or go down the owners should see bringing in a new director of football as a big opportunity to make big changes across the club – a fresh start, if you will.
It is imperative that the director of football and the manager have a strong relationship and are pulling in the same direction, and the Irons can’t afford to get either appointment wrong if they do stay up and want to avoid finding themselves in a similar predicament to the one they currently find themselves in, next seaon.