Now that we are officially in the twilight zone, in other words, pre “pre-season” mode, it’s time to look at the many West Ham transfer rumours currently doing the rounds. It should be said that this is officially “silly season”, a period in which deals are very seldom done and which therefore gives journalists carte blanche to make up any old rubbish in the hope that it might sell a few papers.
Sifting through these can prove to be difficult especially when there are so many sources out there these days. It’s not just newspaper reporters, there are so-called experts everywhere, some with apparent “close” connections to the club providing us with daily bulletins via blog posts (just like this one). If you ask me it’s information overload. Give me the days when the only way you could find out if someone had moved was reading it in the Daily Express the following morning.
We will start with the first line of defense – Goalkeepers
West Ham’s defensive record was poor last year but you couldn’t always blame it on our No.1… However, neither Adrián nor Darren Randolph played consistently well in front of a porous defense so it’s not surprising that we should be linked with an upgrade. But do we really need to strengthen in this area? The candidates are;
JORDAN PICKFORD (Sunderland)
Talented 23-year-old who couldn’t keep Sunderland up but who could just be the next big thing in British Football. Still a bit raw but if it hadn’t been for his performances his team would have faired far worse than they did, which is saying something. It has been suggested that the deal could involve Adrián going in the opposite direction. The thing is, is he the keeper to be replaced? Randolph seems to be the obvious choice particularly as Adrián has just signed a new contract that, one would imagine, has made certain promises regarding his position in the pecking order. Also, there is the possibility of a £15 million pound fee for Pickford which is a lot of money considering we will probably need to spend it on other areas of the team. One thing seems likely though and that is that Pickford will be playing Premier League football next season, but with whom?
JOHN RUDDY (Norwich City)
30-year-old England international available on a free transfer having spent the last seven seasons playing for The Canaries. Looked a very capable keeper the last time Norwich were in the Premier League, and won his first England cap. His position within that squad was lost however when Delia Smith’s boys got relegated. Despite being among the favourites to return to the top flight this season, Norwich failed to do so and Ruddy lost his first team place. With his contract expiring it’s more than a little surprising that they have decided to let him go which makes you wonder what kind of form he’s been in over the last 6 months. Would Ruddy for Randolph be considered an upgrade? Would he be happy warming the bench as Adrián’s No.2? Stranger things have happened.
JOE HART (Manchester City)
Like him or not, he is still England’s No.1. On loan to Torino last season, a team that shifted 66 goals (two more than West Ham), yet Torino wanted to retain his services so he must have made an impression of sorts. Needs to come back to England in order to preserve his international position, particularly with the likes of Butland & Pickford breathing down his neck. One would imagine that Hart would go to a Top Six team with European football and not to a mid-table side like us. All the ambition in the world may not be enough to lure him to the London Stadium and his wages would be astronomical. He would be a signing that would declare some intent which is why I think we are being linked with him and also why I don’t think it will happen.
WOJCIECH SZCZESNY (Arsenal)
Another keeper out on loan to a Serie A team, this time with Roma, the Polish international has been in excellent form over the last two seasons and if talks with Arsene Wenger prove fruitless it’s possible that he will be looking to secure a permanent deal elsewhere. We have apparently taken an interest in the situation but with recent reports suggesting that Juventus are thinking of making a bid of about £13 million I think it’s likely that the 27-year-old will remain in Italy.