So it was another early unneeded meltdown by many West Ham fans in June and July when the only business West Ham done was agree the record sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal, Scamacca back to his motherland with a move to Atalanta and Vlasic with a return to his loan club Torino. At this point people assumed we would do no business but it was just the mark of another West Ham approach to transfers.
We identify a position that we need and then look at around sux players that we like for each position before working out what the best deal is that we can achieve and we then go for that player. Before we started to bring in players the usual culprits had started to circulate negative stories and this time, it was around the appointment of Tim Steidten and him apparently falling out with David Moyes over transfers.
This was used as the narrative as to why we hadn’t signed anyone because Moyes and Steidten had fallen out. This had no substance and what was actually witnessed at the player awards’ ceremony was the two of them enjoying a drink and each other’s company.
The first signing we completed was that of Mexican Edson Alvarez from Ajax. This player was identified by Mark Noble as the perfect replacement for Declan Rice. He scouted the player a number of times and put the player forward to Moyes who agreed and also spoke to John Heitinga, his former player at Everton and recently appointed coach at West Ham, who was the then manager of Ajax.
All pointed to him being a good signing and Tim Steidten flew out to Amsterdam to get the player over the line. He also enquired about Mohammed Kudus who was to be our final signing of the window.
Kudus had stood out to Noble whilst watching Alvarez with his scouts and it was identified that both signings would be great for West Ham. Again Noble identified Kudus, and Stiedten flew to Bulgaria, where Kudus played his final game for Ajax in a Champions League qualifier. He scored a hattrick in his final game.
In between these deals, England international James Ward-Prowse joined the club for £30m from Southampton. This was Moyes’ number one priority signing and one he had tried to make the previous summer. Moyes has the ultimate say on transfers and made it clear he wanted JWP, which the board and Tim Steidten also agreed he would bring great value.
We wanted a centre back too and had lengthy discussions with Manchester United regarding their former captain Harry Maguire. We couldn’t agree a wage compromise with Manchester United where we wanted them to part fund the difference in our wage offering and what he was on at Manchester United.
Alternatives were sort and Konstantinos Mavropanos was quickly identified. This was a recommendation from Stiedten who had seen him play many times in the Bundesliga and win a number of awards for his defending and also ability to score great goals.
Another interesting development with Steidten is that he is looking to agree some affiliations with other clubs. There is a partnership close to being set up with Austrian top flight club Austria Klagenfurt.
As part of the agreement between the clubs, West Ham made the bizarre signing of Andy Irving from the club and we then loaned him straight back to them. This was part of a long-term agreement where we can send young players to the club for experience and we will have first buying rights on their young talent.
A transfer that happened at the start of the window and was a result of our academy recruitment was Irishman Sean Moore from Cliftonville who is seen to be a great talent for the future. Although we didn’t sign a forward, which I really think we needed to do as we keep having to rely on Antonio. who is now coming up to his 34th year this season, it was a good window.
We must look to get a forward in January because this is an obvious need. I think we could have also done with some left back cover but with Aaron Cresswell staying, the need wasn’t as great as it did seem originally. It ended up being great work between all in the recruitment team over the summer and I think their partnership is one to look forward to in the future and these affiliates could mark the next step in us moving to another level in recruitment.