Many scoffed when Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli used West Ham United as an example of a club on the brink of financial meltdown as he tried to defend controversial European Super League plans.
But is the chairman of the Italian giants right after all amid growing uncertainty at West Ham?
West Ham are at risk of insolvency according to Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli.
Earlier this month Agnelli name checked West Ham to the world’s press when discussing the crippling financial crisis caused by the global pandemic (Calcio Mercato).
Juve chief told world’s press that West Ham were at risk of financial problems
“Two topics that I would like to introduce before leaving room for questions,” Agnelli said earlier this month (Calcio Mercato).
“The board has estimated the effects of the pandemic over the three-year period at €320m, based on this the guidelines for the capital increase up to €400, have been defined.
“They estimate the need for liquidity within the system to be €8.5 billion. It is estimated that 30-40% will be managed by capital increases, 15-20% are at risk of insolvency. I am thinking of Barcelona, Inter, West Ham, Porto.”
The comments drew criticism from some West Ham fans who accused Agnelli of being – among other things – ‘clueless’.
Claims were scoffed at by bemused Hammers fans
For the year ending March 2020, West Ham’s turnover was down in excess of £50 million whilst broadcast revenue took a £44 million dive.
But given the riches of Premier League TV money and the fact West Ham have a number of saleable assets such as Delcan Rice, the claims drew scepticism.
Fast forward a month, though, and many of those bemused West Ham fans are starting to think Agnelli may have been more informed than they first thought.
With less than three weeks until the start of the new season West Ham are yet to make a single senior signing.
Was Agnelli right about West Ham after all?
Craig Dawson’s permanent move was activated last season. So although it was not made official until the opening of the summer window, it hardly counts as a new signing.
There have also been reports this week that West Ham are heading for financial trouble with claims that co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold are looking to sell up to 40% of their shares in a desperate search for new investment.
With reports that Rice has refused two new contract offers coming to light and now a similar story with another key player – Vladimir Coufal – things are not looking too rosy in the West Ham garden.
West Ham officials would point to much bigger losses at other clubs and the fact the transfer window has been slow across Europe bar a handful of exceptions.
The Hammers hierarchy has also been at pains to point out the club’s recent success in the transfer market under Moyes has been based upon signing the right players and characters. And the manager has always maintained publicly he will not sign players for the sake of it.
And the club continues to negotiate with the likes of Rice and Coufal to ensure players are rewarded.