Hugh Southon’s Last Word: We can moan all we like but we had to raise the cash somehow

I held back because I really didn't know how good Grady actually may be.

It would be easy to blather on about whether the sale of Grady Diangana is a good or bad decision but it does come as a result of some very poor recruitment down the last two or three years which has left us with far too many wingers and not anything like enough defenders.

Unlike many who took to social media to give their view, I deliberately held back because, quite honestly, I really didn’t know how good Grady actually may be.

Instead I spoke to the guy who mentored him for a few years – Terry Westley – and found my views virtually coincided with his and which were surprisingly neutral.

Here’s what for former Academy director has to say: ‘Like most fans there is nothing I would have liked more than to see Grady wearing claret and blue and gracing the London Stadium this season. 

‘I get the fans’ frustration entirely that instead he is likely to be showing what he can do as Premier League player in the black country under Slaven at West Brom.

‘The big question is whether he should have been allowed to move on at this stage of his development. 

‘Many fans have made up their mind that he should have remained but frankly I just don’t know, even as the person who had him under my charge for so long. We have yet to find out how good he is. It’s a gamble.

‘As a result this could go one of two ways – it could be a very good deal for the Hammers or a very bad one should he become the great player some believe him likely to be.

‘It’s pretty clear the club is in a pickle financially following Covid and that will always have some shouting for the owners to sell up but in the meantime – with seven wingers at the club – a decision had to be made on a pretty unbalanced squad.

‘We would all perhaps have sooner seen Anderson go, for example, rather than one of our own but with that not happening the manager and owners were in a tricky position and their decision was never going to suit everybody.

‘In the end they probably decided that given the number of goals we scored following lockdown without Grady, and given the only bid was for him, they had to accept in order to strengthen a very thin defence. 

‘Imagine, for example what would happen should Oggy get an injury for example. And yes, they need full back cover.

‘It’s a difficult no win situation for all involved. I’m very glad I didn’t have to make a decision on a deal which I’m sure makes Diang the most expensive academy product in our history.’

Find it difficult to argue with any of that!

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