What does the transfer window deadline mean to you? To me, it means Harry Redknapp leaning out of a car window saying nothing to be seen here, and us West Ham fans praying for the midnight deadline in the hope that none of our star players had moved on to pastures new.
This year we already knew that the jewel in the crown was long gone even before the window opened. Rice was a goner – or should that be Gunner? – even before the team entered the field of play in Prague,
in fact he was probably gone when we started the season last August against Man City. The only thing that may have stopped the transfer from happening is if we had won the league or if he had been involved in something like a betting scandal.
So with all that cash from the Rice sale, did we at least do our level best to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? It didn’t look good to start with. David Sullivan, in my eyes, had made a huge mistake directly after our European triumph when he declared that Rice would be on his way.
Immediately a transfer fee of over £100 million was being touted which meant that all other clubs realised that suddenly West Ham was cash rich. This meant that it was inevitable that any player connected to us would find their transfer fee increased due to all that cash sitting in the West Ham coffers.
It took its time but what seemed like an age after the Rice deal was finally settled the transfer window was pushed ajar and like a revolving door in the Redknapp era, the incomings and outgoings began. But of course, as is always the way with West Ham, the outgoings happened first. The first thing the Board saw fit to do was to deal with a few of the players out on loan.
Even before the Rice deal had gone through, Arthur Masuaku had signed a permanent deal with Besiktas and PR (post rice) Vlasic had signed for Torino. Then came the news that Manuel Lanzini had been released and within weeks the squad was already looking decidedly light.
Finally though a full month PR we saw our first incoming player with the signing of Edson Omar Álvarez Velázquez, or Alvarez for short, a Mexican to bolster our midfield. Alvarez became the fourth Mexican to play for the Hammers, the others being Guillermo Franco, Pablo Barrera and Javier Hernández, a prolific striker who, surprise, surprise, didn’t make the grade at West Ham.
We thus do not have a great record with Mexican players and if the rumours are true and Alvarez is a Sullivan not Moyes signing, the writing could be on the wall for our newest Mexican. But at least our midfield after the loss of Rice and Vlasic would be strengthened.
Then like a massive kick in the teeth it gets announced that the very promising Flynn Downes has been sent on loan to Southampton. I guess regarding Downes I was in the minority when I thought he looked good in every game he had played.
But there was some good news on the horizon and this time we latched onto a right belter with the signing of James Ward-Prowse, an English international who is not only a solid midfielder but can also hit a corner where by the first defender can rest at ease as he won’t be hit by the oncoming ball.
Ward-Prowse in his debut against Chelsea had already shown that it’s not always the West Ham way to hit the first man from corner kicks with the cross for our first goal. There was further good news with the fact that we had finally stopped pursuing Harry Maguire.
I’m sure that I was not in the minority feeling relief when that transfer disappeared over the horizon. With the fee supposedly agreed, it seemed as if the player had little interest in putting a claret and blue shirt on.
Instead in came Konstantinos Mavropanos, the first ever Greek player to play for the Hammers.
With over 80 appearances for Stuttgart and 19 international caps to his name, he could just be the man to finally replace Winston Reid in our defence. His flirtation with Arsenal earlier in his career will be forgotten if he ends up emulating the great New Zealander.
But with every plus with the Hammers there always had to be a negative. And sure enough we had one with Gianluca Scamacca joining the long list of forwards that have not made it at West Ham by returning to Italy after just one season in England.
With Lanzini and Scamacca having departed, we were suddenly extremely light up front and with the manager hinting that Bowen would be converted to an out-and-out striker, it looked as if the remainder of the Rice cash would be banked for another day. But then Ghanian midfielder Mohammed Kudus was on his way. This one looks pretty special. I just hope we don’t ruin him.
With a week to go we still had to contend with the rumours that Antonio and Cresswell may join Dawson in the Midlands but at least Man City had distanced themselves from Paqueta. But we still had that striker concern, was Bowen really going to be converted to an out-and-out striker?
It seems like we had a narrow escape when we decided our pursuit of a player from Corinthians came to nothing. The revelations of part ownership brought back memories of the Tevez transfer, one not to go near.
So with the transfer window closed and firmly shut it does look as if we have had a pretty good one. We lost, other than Rice, fringe players and strengthened our midfield. The worry is the lack of a striker, yet again.
The further worry is that, as a free agent, we could still see Jesse the mercenary put on a West Ham shirt again. The truth will come out in the next few weeks. Will the new names be a success? Well I think we will know the answer to that one in a few months time.