Meet West Ham’s transfer circus with David Moyes cracking the whip as ringmaster and Tim Steidten the elephant in the room.
You all know the line by now West Ham fans.
We and the rest of the football media covering West Ham in the summer transfer window have little choice but to trot it out in most articles relating to the club.
The Hammers are the only Premier League club yet to sign a player in this window. In fact if I had the time or patience to check it’s fair to assume West Ham might be the only professional club in the country who have not welcomed a new arrival this summer.
And the season gets underway in 11 days. Without Declan Rice.
David Moyes has lost assistants Paul Nevin and Mark Warburton too – which suggests claims of disharmony among the coaching staff from a first team whistleblower last season had substance.
When West Ham brought in Tim Steidten as technical director with overarching responsibility for recruitment, Hammers News suggested there was always going to be a potential issue with Moyes. And so it has proved.
But even the most cynical of West Ham fans could not have predicted the situation the Hammers find themselves in right now.
They are in the midst of a dangerous transfer stand-off. That has been exclusively confirmed to Hammers News by a top club source amid claims Steidten could walk less than a month into the job.
“He finds the manager very hard work,” was our top source’s verdict on rumours a frustrated Steidten could leave the Hammers.
Moyes has also admitted he is still getting to know Steidten and has hardly had time to sit down and work with him.
A source close to the West Ham board has described the club’s transfer by committee approach as ‘a shambles and complete mess’.
West Ham are fast becoming Rejected FC with every bid made thus far being turned down amid one of the most woeful transfer windows in many years.
And now agents are telling journalists that West Ham are showing themselves up in the window by making ridiculous derisory offers for players that stand no chance of being accepted.
Mark Noble once famously said ‘West Ham aren’t run like a circus anymore’ as he addressed fans on the pitch during the farewell to Upton Park.
Yet, somehow, some way, just under two months since the club lifted its first trophy for 43 years, the claret and blue big top is back in town.
Meet West Ham’s transfer circus with Moyes cracking the whip as ringmaster and Steidten the elephant in the room.
David Sullivan: West Ham’s majority owner David Sullivan will be the one having the ultimate say on most things at the club. He drove the appointment of Steidten in a bid to improve the club’s recruitment. And the majority of West Ham fans would agree it is a move that was needed and a sensible thing to do in the increasingly competitive modern transfer market. As the main man with ultimate control over all matters, Sullivan will always be the one to carry the can.
Karren Brady: What many West Ham fans don’t realise is that vice-chair Karren Brady is – or at least has been until now – the person who actually does the transfer dealings with other clubs. Moyes confirmed this last year. Brady does not have any involvement in the actual targets themselves but has been chief negotiator on transfer deals and communications between clubs.
Daniel Kretinsky: Secretive co-owner Daniel Kretinsky is a busy man away from West Ham with a constant stream of big money business investments on the go. He also owns Czech club Sparta Prague. What his long term plans are at – and with – West Ham remain unclear. But he does have to vote on any significant money spent by the club over and above around £2m. So when it comes to transfers he effectively has his own say on all of them.
Tim Steidten: West Ham beat off the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs to land ‘the pearl diver’ Steidten following his departure from Bayer Leverkusen. The German club wanted him to stay but he fancied a new challenge. Well he’s certainly getting a challenge at West Ham. But probably one he didn’t quite expect. Thus far the elephant in the room for the West Ham transfer circus has been left tied up out the back of the big top while the fans beg for him to be wheeled out as the main attraction. Steidten has been rendered impotent this far in his new role as he uses data and statistics to target a completely new profile of player for the Irons. West Ham finally seemed to catch up to the idea a figure like Steidten was needed at the club only to risk losing him by not utilising his expertise.
Mark Noble: West Ham’s sporting director clearly found out quite quickly he had neither the connections, experience nor the desire to act as a main man on transfers since taking up the role in January. His presence around the club is so, so important, though. And it’s not too far fetched to imagine he may well be the glue that is holding everything together at times. His role has changed slightly with Steidten’s arrival, focusing more on being around the first team and a bridge between the academy and the Hammers senior side. But the club – and Noble himself – have confirmed he does have a say on transfers too.
Rob Newman: Remember him? The man West Ham brought in from Man City as head of recruitment is still around. Hammers News can confirm Rob Newman was seen having several meetings with a host of agents including the likes of David Villa at the end of last season. So it struck us as strange when rumours suggested he would depart the club. Yesterday it was confirmed he is still very much actively involved and remains part of the setup, just in case the waters weren’t muddy enough.
David Moyes: The ringmaster of the West Ham transfer circus. The Scot has earned the right to have his say on transfers with what he has done for the club. But his success rate has been questionable in recent windows, hence the arrival of Steidten in the first place. The jury remains out on Nayef Aguerd at £30m. Nikola Vlasic and Gianluca Scamacca look like costly mistakes too while Maxwel Cornet’s face doesn’t seem to fit. Generally Moyes wants older, experienced, proven players and that completely jars with the Steidten approach. The most ridiculous fact of the matter, though, is that the manager is in the last year of a contract which probably won’t be extended. Yet he has all the power in this circus, cracking the whip on transfers with his power of veto. Even if West Ham were to force Steidten signings on Moyes, he could just refuse to play them.
There is no future for this setup in its current guise. And ultimately the only resolution will be change.
Or else we’ll all end up looking like clowns licking custard pie off our faces come September 1st.