West Ham signed six players in the summer transfer window and once again smashed the club transfer record. But former Hammer Rio Ferdinand has told talkSPORT that keeping Issa Diop and Declan Rice at the club was the biggest achievement of the summer.
Both Diop and Rice were linked with moves away from East London during the summer. Manchester City and Manchester United were reportedly eyeing moves for Rice (The Sun) with West Ham holding out for £80m-plus. Meanwhile, Man United also wanted Diop to solve their defensive problems (Sky Sports News).
Rio Ferdinand on West Ham’s summer business
Ferdinand, who came through the ranks at West Ham, rates both Diop and Rice very highly. The ex-England star believes West Ham’s ability to keep both at The London Stadium was a statement of intent.
He told talkSPORT: “The fans have been up in arms over the last couple of years with the owners but they have put their money where their mouth is. And the biggest thing they have achieved this year is keeping hold of Declan Rice and Issa Diop.
“Me, Frank [Lampard], Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson … once there was a little bit of form or interest players just left this club before. Hopefully, this is the sign of the strength at the club now.”
West Ham’s business assessed
West Ham signed six players this summer. Adrian left and he was replaced by two goalkeepers (Roberto and David Martin) to provide cheap cover. One defender arrived (Goncalo Cardoso) but Manuel Pellegrini might be regretting that after a dismal showing against Man City.
Sebastian Haller is the big-name signing for West Ham. The French striker signed from Eintracht Frankfurt for a club-record fee and West Ham fans will expect goals. There is also plenty of expectation on Pablo Fornals’ shoulders after West Ham spent a lot of money on the Spanish midfielder.
Albian Ajeti also arrived this summer to provide West Ham with another option up front. But Ferdinand is right that West Ham’s best business was keeping their star players – particularly Rice.
In order to progress as a club, it is important that West Ham maintain this hardline stance on their star players. Both Diop and Rice are tied down to long-term contracts and there is no pressure to sell them unless a ridiculous offer comes in.
Rice is the man West Ham fans idolise. The 20-year-old is young, homegrown, the star player and a full England international. Losing him would be a major blow, not just for his work in holding midfield but also for his talismanic status.