West Ham problems with only one striker in Michail Antonio and still no replacement for Sebastien Haller

When it comes to a football team, there’s no question that one of the positions where there has to be some depth is the striker position. Every team has at least 3-4 strikers in case one of them gets injured, someone else can get the job done or to come out of the bench to try and score a goal to rescue points, win a match or win titles.

However there’s one manager that loves to have small squads, that manager is David Moyes. Unlike his competitors, David Moyes only has Michail Antonio as striker in his squad, a decision that many fans don’t like knowing that there’ll be a time where Michail Antonio will get injured, and problems would soon arrive.

At the time of writing there hasn’t been any official offer made for a striker from West Ham other than the rejected loan offer for Flamengo’s Gabriel Barbosa which can only mean one thing, David Moyes doesn’t see the problem many fans see and therefore Michail Antonio will be the only striker in the squad until the end of the season. If Antonio get’s injured, what can Moyes do without a natural striker at the squad?

Image Reference: Wiki0096 via Wikipedia, 4/6/21, CC BY 4.0

Since Sebastien Haller’s departure to Ajax last winter the only striker available in the squad has been Michail Antonio. Although there have been times where Jarrod Bowen has played at the striker position, playing him up front would result on a huge loss on the wings where chances are normally created. Another possible solution for the striker problem could be playing with a false-nine. During his time at the Spanish National Team, Vicente del Bosque played Cesc Fabregas as a false-nine or in other words, playing striker less. David Moyes could study how the false-nine on Del Bosque’s teams worked and then try to shape it up to his preferences resulting on a viable option that could improve the squad.

The most obvious option is to sign another striker which many fans want. There have been many names available but there hasn’t been an offer for any of them. First off Anthony Martial who is looking to leave Manchester United for playing time could be a great fit for the squad with a similar play style to Michail Antonio, he’s fast, strong and can finish with ease, however it seems that Sevilla are going to get the Frenchman on loan until the end of the season. Talking about Sevilla another great option would be Youssef En-Nesyri, a player that David Moyes loves but hasn’t been able to get the striker due to Sevilla rejecting all offers sent. With 8 days left for the end of the transfer market, could a striker join the Hammers at least until the end of the season?

David Moyes’ favourite option which would cost nothing to the team is playing U-23’s striker Sonny Perkins in case Michail Antonio gets injured. The 17-year-old striker has already made his debut with the first team but has yet to score his first goal with the hammers. A very physical, agile, and vertical striker, Sonny Perkins is somewhat different to Haller and Antonio. His clinical finishing makes him a great striker but his speed and runs make him even better. Surprisingly, Sonny wasn’t a striker until last season, but his intelligence has helped him get into the first team in less than a year. Having made him debut this season against Rapid Vienna, David Moyes could soon get his “winter transfer signing” in the form of the talented England international.

In conclusion, whatever David Moyes does is what he thinks is the most beneficial for the team, in this case it looks like he will trust the academy and play Sonny Perkins if Michail Antonio gets injured which fits perfect with West Ham’s philosophy of developing players until they reach the first team, we have had Declan Rice at the midfield who is an academy graduate, why not do the same with Sonny Perkins and give him the confidence he needs.

An outlook of James Tarkowski in the 2022 January transfer window as his current contract with Burnley expires this summer

The temperature in the Premier League is rising. The winter transfer period started and some of the clubs are trying to buy some reinforcement for the rest of the season especially those clubs that are fighting for the top of the table. Some of the clubs have different problems as how to keep theirs best players in the team and to extend their contract.

It is the case with Burnley and their central defender James Tarkowski. He is one of the players who could attract a lot of attention in the next two transfer periods. The 29-year-old stopper’s contract with Burnley expires in the summer, there is no agreement on the extension, which is a signal for many clubs to try to bring him in January. At Burnley they are willing to sell him this transfer period so the club can earn something of that transfer. The occasional member of the England national team has a reputation as one of the most reliable defenders in the league.

Since he is 29 years old this and maybe next two seasons he will probably be at his top form and will be able to give his best in the Premier League. Many clubs know this and are trying to sign him. There are many rumors now and many clubs are involved. Some of the rumors are that Manchester United will try to bring Tarkowski this winter. Dayot Upamecano (then Leipzig, now at Bayern Munich) and Kalidou Coulibaly (Napoli) were on United’s radar in the summer but these were expensive variants, so Manchester United in January will turn to the cheaper one, Burnley’s defender James Tarkowski. Man. United is still looking for a quality partner of Harry Maguire in the defensive line, and since they could not find him this summer, they could not agree with Leipzig and Napoli on the amount of compensation will now try to bring Tarkowski, who is far more cheaper and available variant.

Some media in England have reported that the Liverpool camp is interested in bringing James Tarkowski from the Burnley. The Sun reported that Klopp had reportedly contacted Burnley’s management to sell the player for the next six months without the right to buy the contract. Such announcements were strongly denied by Burnley coach Sean Dyche, who pointed out that this is a bizarre speculation. But more realistic are news that Newcastle and West Ham are in tight race for his signature. The Sun claims that David Moyes is a big fan of Tarkowski and is ready to send a concrete offer. If Burnley remains firm in his intention not to sell his defender, the same paper states that Nat Phillips (Liverpool) and Ben Davies (also Liverpool but on-loan at Sheffield United) are alternatives to the Hammers. Newcastle United plans to bring in two English players in the winter transfer window. According to the English Telegraph, it is about the Burnley defender, James Tarkowski and the Manchester United player, Jesse Lingard. According to them it seems that Tarkowski has already agreed to join the Newcastle team, and negotiations with Lingard are still ongoing.

Tarkowski started his professional football career in Oldham in League One. After 3 years he joined Brentford and won a promotion to Championship in the first season there. In 2016 he joined Burnley which were part of the Championship. That season Burnley was promoted to Premier League and are part of it since then. Tarkowski under the manager Sean Dyche has grown into one of the best central defenders in the league and as many would say he is old school central defender something that is missing in the Premier League lately. He has 2 appearances for the England national team and if he join some “bigger” club than Burnley he has very big chances of becoming a constant member of England.

Could Daniel Kretinsky be West Ham’s new owner after David Gold & David Sullivan?

The third richest Czech should become the minority owner of West Ham United in the first week of November. This is good news for the London’s club because the fans are not happy with the current owners. Also, the club announced that they got permission to increase the stadium for additional 2.500 seats. It seems that the money from the Czech billionaire will come at the right time in West Ham.

West Ham has been building a small Czech colony in East London for the past two years. In January last year, Tomas Soucek arrived, who after quality games in the summer of 2020 was bought from Slavia Prague, in the same time when Vladimir Coufal also arrived from the same team. A year later, Alex Kral also came to West Ham on loan from Spartak Moscow, after which jokes immediately appeared that they were no longer Hammers, but Czechs. And what can we say after the information that the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is on the verge of buying a package of shares, which means 27% of the club.

The third richest Czech, the owner of Prague’s Sparta, is determined to make a step forward and expand his influence in the top five leagues. That idea did not occur to him yesterday, three years ago he was connected with the potential purchase of AC Milan or Roma. The media in England claim that the purchase of a little more than a quarter of shares is just the beginning and that in the future, Kretinsky has a vision to become the majority owner.

The purchase should be realized in the first week of November, most likely for the weekend, when West Ham welcomes Liverpool in London. The financiers claim that the contract will contain a clause on full control, which will be activated after a period that has not been specified yet. At the same time, the estimated total value of the club at this moment is somewhere between 700,000,000 and 825,000,000 euros.

Image Reference: Egghead06 via Wikipedia, 23/5/21, CC BY 4.0 SA

When the deal will be official it will be known how much money the club will have for transfers in January but according to experts West Ham and Newcastle will both have more than enough budget to bring quality football stars in January. Since Kretinsky is owner of Sparta Prague it is possible that these two clubs will have cooperation in developing young players and transfer players in both ways in junior and senior categories.

Kretinsky’s fortune is estimated at around 4,000,000,000 euros, and in addition to jobs in the homeland related to the energy, media, industrial and retail sectors, he has a serious stake in the postal service company Royal Mail, as well as in the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, the second most powerful markets in Great Britain.

If at one point he completely takes over West Ham, the long-term rule of David Gold and his best friend David Sullivan, who bought the club in 2010, will come to an end. West Ham has been owned by two former big fans of the club since 2010, David Gold and David Sullivan, after they sold Birmingham City. These two made money in the porn industry, and under their leadership West Ham were relegated once in 2010/11 but returned to the Premier League in 2012/13 via the EFL Championship Play-Offs and became a team for respect.

It started with the change of the minority package of shares in Wolverhampton, followed by the purchase of Newcastle by the Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the point for some future period could be put by Daniel Kretinsky. And then it is very possible that we will see the Czech colony rising at the Olympic Stadium in London.

How West Ham Can Improve Fan Relations In The 2021/22 Season?

Following West Ham’s great start to the 2021/22 season, fans of the club are only inclined to be more enthusiastic about the team’s future. However, there are some glaring pain points that the club must address to ensure that their support doesn’t fizzle out in vain.

Potentially the most looming worry, West Ham is not in a financially safe spot to chase ambitious dreams. Even with their superb performance in recent years, such as being a few points shy of a Champions League appearance, finishing top six in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, and providing a consistent performance under David Moyes. Still, supporters can’t help but wonder if these gains will be boosted under the ownership of PAI Capital.

According to Nasib Piriyev, managing partner of PAI Capital, buying West Ham will change the standards of the club to a regular top 6 spot, improve fan relations and most importantly, provide a bigger budget in the transfer window.

We wouldn’t be quick to rule out the gold mine that PAI Capital could be, but there is something special brewing for the Hammers, and switching to a new owner could set the course off sail.

Rob Newman’s appointment in West Ham as the new head of Recruitment and Scouting is a positive move**. This is reflected in the recent transfer window. In August, the club signed new talent in the likes of Kurt Zouma, Nikola Vlasic and Alex Kral to support blooming players like Said Benrahma who is wonderfully adjusting to his new role as a goalscorer following Jesse Lingard’s departure.

Michail Antonio’s recent adoption of the number 9 jersey is also certain to have ignited the support of fans who have watched him do justice to the mantle this season.

The squad’s average age might be among the highest in the league at 29.4, but their performance delivers superbly. With U23 players like Mipo Odubeko (Huddersfield Town), Conor Coventry (Peterborough) and Frederik Alves (Sunderland in League 1) out on loan, they are sure to receive more priority in their respective teams against seasoned players. Upon their return, their performance is sure to be miles ahead of any previous potential they held in the senior team. This will undoubtedly lead to more options for David Moyes in his strategic vision for West Ham.

Off the pitch, West Ham has been making strides towards improvement with the unveiling of statues dedicated to club legends Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters at Boleyn Ground, the team’s former home.

Image Reference: Hammersfan via Wikipedia, 11/2/19

Unfortunately, the Olympic Stadium lacks a traditional ownership from the club which is a severe minus for fans that love a real home turf to visit. If West Ham could convert from a renting model to a purchase of the Olympic Stadium, that would be ideal. However, judging from the current strides, buying a stadium doesn’t seem far off into the future. This would be a great move for players as well, because a custom training ground will have facilities prioritized towards team improvement.

Judging from the recent developments, West Ham can expect a top six finish in the Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League respectively. David Moyes will have to take advantage of the recent transfers and proper training routines to ensure that players remain in top shape for what’s to come.

** PS: The new Director of Football appointment will begin in late September after Rob Newman served a period of gardening leave by his previous employer Manchester City.

THE OLYMPIC STADIUM AND ITS “HAMMERING” PROBLEMS

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Ever since its inauguration the 5th of May 2012, two months before its first official use for the 2012 London Olympic Games, the London Olympic Stadium has been through some various problems about its use for a variety of sports such as football and athletics, and its controversial capacity that has varied overtime.

Originally built for the 2012 Olympic Games as the venue for athletics and both the opening and closing ceremonies the Olympic Stadium is known to be the first ever stadium that can be removed piece by piece. With an original capacity of 80000 the London Olympic Stadium underwent renovations so that it could be used for football upon the arrival of Premier League side West Ham United. 

After the arrival of the hammers, the Olympic Stadium saw its capacity reduced to 60000 even though a good part of the athletics track was covered by uncountable rows of seats.

Image Reference: Egghead06 via Wikipedia, 10/9/16

Since its inaugural match, West Ham have faced various problems with both the stadium and fans such as match-tickets marked with non-existing seating to complete discomfort among the distance of the crowd from the pitch and the vanishing atmosphere that the Boleyn Ground had every time the irons played. 

Ever since arriving at the now known as London Stadium tensions between the fans and the West Ham board have grown to an all-time high blaming them of selling their dream, the beloved Boleyn Ground, for a nightmare, that nightmare being the Olympic Stadium.

Although the president and its executives tried everything to put the fans on their side by adding a new set of seating on both ends for fans to be closer to action, it’s already too late.

Image Reference: daniel0685 from Flickr, 6/1/18

Except for the 2020-21 season (only season without fans for the most part), the new stadium was also affecting the team’s performance finishing on the bottom-half of the table 3 of the 5 full-seasons played at the London Stadium, historically that’s where West Ham would normally finish but with new owners and a big investment on the club with the promise of new signings that would improve the squad through time European football was the minimum fans would accept.

However as we all know, on this sport promises tend to be broke and of course, those signings once promised transformed into minimum investment on the acquisition of new players, an example of that is this season in which with only three weeks left of the transfer window the only signings have been Craig Dawson (he was already at the club on loan from Watford) and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola from French side PSG.

With the return of fans this weekend for the season opener against Newcastle United, manager David Moyes will try to repeat the feat he achieved last season but with the addition of the long-awaited return of fans, the perfect opportunity to give the irons hope for the following seasons, this time with both Premier League and Europa League football and a bright squad with talented players such as Algerian winger Said Benrahma, Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek and England international Declan Rice backed-up with the experience of veteran and captain Mark Noble. The London Stadium will hold both Premier League and European football for the second time in its short history.

However, a problem remains. If West Ham want to renovate the stadium demolishing the athletics track and therefore moving the stands closer to the pitch, they’ll need to buy the stadium, an investment that if not prepared correctly, could result on huge losses and high amounts of debt. 

An example of a team whose stadium was renovated was Spanish side Real Sociedad, their stadium known as the Reale Arena for sponsoring reasons had its low tier renovated bringing the stands closer to the action that resulted on an overall improvement on the players performances and making fans more involved on the game. 

Image Reference: Bhgh543bgf via Wikipedia, 28/2/20

For the operation to happen not only do West Ham need to put in the money, but it also must be approved by the London council which would result on the creation of a new stadium where athletics could be held. In the case of this happening London could be seeing a potential decrease on the overall interest in athletics which would result on the loss of major athletics events for a pursuable future.

Nevertheless West Ham have the perfect opportunity this season to bring back to life the atmosphere that once died when the last game at the Boleyn Ground was played.

Europa League football as well as a promising squad that has shown to be solid on both ends and the possible signing of Serbian youngster Nikola Milenkovic after negotiations for both Kurt Zouma and Tammy Abraham got complicated could be the missing piece of the puzzle for the backline of the hammers and what a better place to make all of this happen than in the London Stadium, a place where Olympic records were beaten, and incredible stories will be written.