David Moyes can be accused of many things but the experienced West Ham United manager is not stupid.
The West Ham boss has been ridiculed over the years after failing at a string of clubs.
West Ham’s owners did not help when they deemed Moyes was not progressive enough for them despite doing his best work in years during his first spell in east London.
Another 18 months out of the game followed as Moyes watched Manuel Pellegrini spend record amounts on transfers.
Back at West Ham for a second spell and Moyes under fire again. Criticised for failing to turn West Ham’s fortunes around and questioned over his ‘dinosaur’ tactics when going to the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.
Things changed in January, though. The Scot insisted he wanted to transform West Ham’s recruitment and build a new-look team full of young, hungry, energetic players (whufc.com).
Mocked Moyes turning the tide with exciting West Ham plans
Moyes declared he would pluck the best talents from the Championship and mould them into a better, more durable and exciting West Ham team that the fans could be proud of. Much like he did at Everton.
He backed up his statement by doing just that with two excellent young signings in the shape of Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen.
Moyes then promoted Jeremy Ngakia when few others believed it was the right time to throw in one so young. The easy option would have been to turn to veteran right-back Pablo Zabaleta after all.
And West Ham’s performances steadily improved. The Hammers had started to look a genuine team before the enforced break.
Central to his plans is Declan Rice. The centrepiece of the bright, young West Ham dynasty Moyes is desperate to be given the chance to try and create.
So when it was put to him that Rice could be destined for West Ham’s rivals Chelsea, Moyes played the game.
Moyes savaged over Gilmour comments
He told BBC Scotland’s Scottish football podcast if that was to be the case then he would take Chelsea’s hugely impressive young defensive midfielder Billy Gilmour as part of the deal.
The comments invited more ridicule and scorn for Moyes. Fans of Chelsea and other clubs savaged him on social media accusing him of being deluded.
But the wily fox knew exactly what he was doing, he was making a point. Not only to Chelsea but the West Ham board and Rice himself.
Moyes was saying to Chelsea ‘We all want things we can’t have’. He was also saying to the West Ham board ‘If you sell Rice I need a like-for-like replacement and they’re not easy to find or cheap’.
He was also effectively saying to Rice and Gilmour ‘Only one of you will be playing so where does that leave the other?’
Moyes is not stupid, he was making a point with clever comments
Yes Rice can play at centre back, but he doesn’t want to. He is determined to play in midfield as he told Tony Cottee recently (whufc.com).
Rice is one of the first names on the teamsheet at West Ham and is destined for the captaincy in the near future. Gilmour has won rave reviews for his performances so far and will be reluctant to slip back into obscurity.
The duo play in the same position. They won’t both play at Chelsea, and that’s before you even throw N’Golo Kante into the mix.
It was a clever statement from Moyes.
And he deserves credit for not just batting the speculation away in the usual robotic manner adopted by most managers in the modern game.
If this is to turn into a summer-long saga between Chelsea and West Ham, it is certainly 1-0 to Moyes.