West Ham United are reportedly set to seal a deal for young defender Frederik Alves Ibsen to join them in January (Daily Mail).
But is it evidence of David Moyes putting his Red Bull vision into motion or just another David Sullivan ‘lottery ticket’.
Going back to 2014 it was clear for anyone who didn’t already know, Sullivan has a huge say on what players arrive at West Ham.
The no-nonsense Sam Allardyce was the manager then. But that didn’t stop Sullivan.
Speaking in an interview with talkSPORT at the time – as reported on by West Ham Til I Die – Sullivan explained why he was acting as a self-appointed director of football and head of recruitment rolled into one.
“The manager has to pick the team,” Sullivan said, as reported by West Ham Til I Die.
Sullivan’s ‘lottery ticket’ recruitment strategy
“It’s his decision what he does. We’re more involved with the transfers this year because we think we haven’t spent our money well in the previous years and we hope we will spend it a bit better this summer.
“But we think what we’ve bought is better value for money and at least we’ve got some more lottery tickets than could turn into jackpots.”
That last sentence is key, particularly the reference to lottery tickets. And the inference quality signings are more about luck than being astute.
It sums up in many ways why West Ham fans have been trying to hound Sullivan and his fellow co-owner David Gold out of the club.
Nearly everything West Ham have done under the duo has felt cheap, poorly planned and more often than not unsuccessful.
Moyes wants to emulate Red Bull blueprint with Hammers
The relentless stream of poor signings off the recommendations of favoured agents or the co-owner’s whims have eroded all confidence fans have in the club to get recruitment right.
And in football recruitment and coaching are EVERYTHING.
So when Moyes returned championing his grand plan to change all that and emulate the Red Bull model at West Ham, supporters were all ears (Daily Mail).
Hammers fans are sick of seeing players long past their best signed on big money.
So the prospect of targeting young, athletic players hungry to prove themselves in the top flight appeals to West Ham’s success starved supporters.
The likes of Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Said Benrahma are indications Moyes is getting West Ham’s house in order.
So what of Alves Ibsen’s reportedly imminent arrival from little known Danish club Silkeborg?
Is Alves Ibsen all part of Moyes’s vision or proof Sullivan is still playing the lotto?
On the face of it, this is Moyes’s Red Bull plan in motion. Signing a young, athletic player with promise before they become well known.
But West Ham fans will also be sceptical that at just £1.2million, Alves Ibsen is just another Sullivan ‘lottery ticket’.
After all West Ham’s development squad has become something of a wasteland for such signings in recent years.
From Martin Samuelsen through to Sead Haksabanovic, Xande Silva, Mesaque Dju and Alves Ibsen’s fellow defender Goncalo Cardoso.
Insiders such as ExWHUemployee claim Alves Ibsen is not being signed to link up with the first team, but the Under 23s instead.
West Ham fans will be hoping he doesn’t become the latest in a long line of torn up tickets.
Instead that the Brazilian Dane is the face of Moyes’s brave new Red Bull-esque era with the Hammers.