Claret & Hugh: ‘Over to you Manuel! The board have backed the boss big time’

It would be churlish not to offer congratulations to all who have been involved this summer.

To describe the events of this summer as extraordinary devalues the word – miraculous would come closer. There is not a single person reading this who surely would have believed that when the transfer window slammed shut at 5pm on August 9, the club would have spent in excess of £115m in the summer window on transfer and agent fees.

That, in turn, involved another £35 million on wages and National Insurance contributions. Add another £15 million for Manuel Pellegrini and his backroom team and we have gone beyond £150 million – double what was expected and forecast – whilst shattering our wage structure.

It is beyond the dreams of all those fans who have been screaming for the board to spend, spend, spend. The key signing was the manager himself and he has since admitted that West Ham’s pursuit of him began soon after he left Manchester City.

He claims it was the board’s persistence that persuaded him to join the club but in our terms, he has come at an enormous cost. No bad thing in my view. Felipe Anderson has been key to his signing’s policy. It is he that the team will be built around and in doing so he brings back memories of Dimitri Payet.

What was so impressive was that all the business was done so early with new director of football Mario Husillos given a free hand to do the job previously carried out by David Sullivan. There is nothing else to be done now but to trust the manager and his staff. His reputation is top class world wide at clubs great and small. We can only pray the players he has brought in will be spot on for the system he wants to play.

Declan Rice’s future may look a little vague in first team terms but I believe he could well be the defensive midfielder we need. Last year we were celebrating his central defensive qualities but he is equally effective, if not more so, in the middle of the park.

Unfortunately, as I write there is no movement on a new contract for him and that really has to be done in a hurry. It is the one outstanding piece of business the board need to sort right now. In the meantime it would be churlish not to offer congratulations to all who have been involved this summer.

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