Jono Henckert looks a possible transfers for West Ham United who have been promoted to the premier league
When West Ham United were relegated at the end of the 2010-11 season, they moved quickly to reorganise the club for a swift return to the Premier League. Sam Allardyce was drafted in along with several high profile signings like Kevin Nolan, Abdoulaye Faye, Mathew Taylor and the youngster, Ravel Morrison.
A major boost for the Hammers was the fact that they kept their squad largely in tact as they were relegated having only lost Demba Ba, Daniel Gabbidon and Scott Parker. That has meant that Allardyce is not under pressure to rebuild his squad ahead of the new season. Known for his ability to find value in the transfer market, Allardyce has brought in George McCartney, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Mohamed Diame on free transfers and parted with £5 million for Mali striker Modibo Maiga.
Allardyce clearly believes in continuity and is unlikely to make too many more signings ahead of the close of the transfer window. The Hammers boss has lost both of his keepers, with England international Robert Green leaving for QPR and Marek Stech leaving for Yeovil Town. Jaaskelainen’s addition to the West Ham ranks will please Allardyce after the Finn served as his no.1 for eight years between 1999 and 2007 at Bolton Wanderers. The Finn is 37 years old though and Allardyce will need a reserve keeper who can share first team duties.
There are two solid English options for Allardyce in Fulham’s David Stockdale and Paul Robinson of Blackburn Rovers. Stockdale, 26, spent the first half of last season on loan at Ipswich Town making 18 appearances before returning to Fulham following an injury to Mark Schwarzer. Although Fulham manager Martin Jol has insisted he does not want to sell Stockdale, the young goalkeeper may be keen to try and kickstart his career elsewhere.
Paul Robinson played for Allardyce as his first choice keeper at Blackburn Rovers, his performances markedly improved under Allardyce’s leadership. Robinson is considering his future after Rovers were relegated and a recent move to Besiktas stalled. One stumbling block may be that Robinson, 32, will want regular first team football, similarly Jaaskelainen sees himself as a regular starter.
West Ham are also short of depth in central defence, a position where Allardyce may turn to experience over youth. At 34 years of age, William Gallas is facing the twilight of his career and would relish the prospect of playing regular first team football. The French defender would offer West Ham experience and solidity in defence although he might not be able to play every game and is available on a free transfer.
Recent speculation puts FC Twente’s Brazilian defender Douglas in the frame for a move to Upton Park. The 24 year old Brazilian has enjoyed a productive time in the Eredevisie after his move from Brazilian club Joinville in 2007, his consistent performances in the heart of defence has won him many admirers. Valued around the £3 million mark, Douglas has acquired a Dutch passport through residency which would allow him to move to England without needing to acquire a work permit. Newcastle seem front runners for his signature at this moment although Fulham boss Martin Jol is also known to be interested in signing the athletic defender.
Miguel Torres, the Getafe right back has emerged as an addition to West Ham’s defence following the addition of George McCartney on a permanent deal. QPR and Blackburn Rovers have emerged with West Ham as contenders for the former Spanish U21 international. Torres, 26, is valued at £2 million and has alerted Premier League clubs to his availability by saying, “English football is a paradise for any player. I believe my sporting future will be there.”
Earlier this summer, West Ham had a £4 million bid turned down for Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Matt Jarvis. West Ham are in need of more depth out wide after the departure of Pablo Barrera but Wolves are asking for £6 million as they do not want to see their squad disintegrate after relegation to the Championship. Alternatively Allardyce could turn his attention toward Ahmed Elmohamady, the Sunderland winger who has struggled to make an impact since Martin O’Neill took charge at the Stadium of Light. O’Neill is thought to be willing to listen to offers for the 24 year old with a loan move looking likely for the Egyptian.
Allardyce’s search for a summer marquee signing has seen the club hit the headlines with attempts to sign Andy Carroll and Joe Cole and his attempts to bring in an experienced Premier League striker may lead him to Jermaine Defoe. The 29 year old has not been given any assurances over his future from Andre Villas-Boas, the new Spurs boss. Defoe only started 11 games under Harry Redknapp last season and a move to Upton Park, the club where he spent his first five years as a professional, might be an attractive proposition for the striker.
A bigger gamble, but one with huge potential, is the young Internazionale forward, Luc Castaignos. After scoring 15 goals in 34 games for Feyenoord, the young Dutchman earned a £3 million move to Inter Milan, however, the 19 year old forward has found life tougher in Italy. Restricted to only six appearances and scoring only one goal, Castaignos has made no secret that he would move to get regular football. QPR have already had a £3 million bid rejected by the Nerazzuri but a minor increase could be enough to prise the youngster away from Inter.
West Ham are looking for a marquee signing to signal their intent as they return to the Premier League. It is more likely that Allardyce’s ability to find bargains and free transfers in the market will be more valuable to the East Londoners.