Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Transfer window about to close...
As I write, the transfer window is 24 hours away from closing. Alan Pardew hasn't made the big money striker signing that he, and we, were hoping for. Given the loan signings of Aliadere and Bellion, it's unlikely that this transfer will take place before the window closes. Without a doubt Pardew will be looking for at least one new signing when the window reopens in January.
Jeremie Aliadere (Arsenal, loan). A good acquisition on the face of things. I'd rather a permanent signing of course but this kid looked good in his debut and might prove an important player for us. Maybe he'll want to stay.
David Bellion (Manchester United, loan). Pardew now has lots of options up front but it's unclear as to the role that Bellion will play in a team with lots of fairly good strikers but no stars. Probably a bit-part player behind Sheringham, Harewood, Zamora, and Aliadere.
Yossi Benayoun (Racing Santander, approx £2.5 million). Creative Israeli midfielder who has a delightful class about him but also isn't afraid to get stuck in. Slightly built, he should try and put on a few pounds to be really effective in the league. However, he looks to be a fantastic signing and could well be a Hammers favourite.
Roy Carroll (Manchester Utd, free). Looks great between the sticks so far. A quality signing and you can't argue with the price.
Clive Clarke (Stoke £275,000). Squad signing. Not sure about his role in the club, but it's not too likely we'll be seeing much of him.
James Collins (Cardiff, approx £1 million). One for the future, and quite a good squad signing. Can play up front. Expect to see a couple of sub appearances, but I doubt he will displace Ward.
Danny Gabbidon (Cardiff, approx £1.5 million). Excellent signing. Looks Premiership quality at the back partnered with Anton Ferdinand. Time will tell if he can keep his place though.
Shaka Hislop (Portsmouth, free). The Shak comes back, and will be sitting on the bench for most of the season. When Walker comes back from injury, expect Shaka to hit the reserves and Jimmy to be benched.
Paul Konchesky (Charlton, approx £2 million). From the three games we've seen him play he looks to be an improvement over the outgoing Chris Powell. Could be a good signing. Looked great in his debut so if he can keep that form he'll be a legend in no time.
Petr Mikolanda (Viktoria Zizkov, less than £1 million). The young Czech striker is keen to impress but we haven't seen him play a competitive match yet. Possibly one for the future. Repka should help him get settled.
Darren Blewett (Hereford, season-long loan). The youngster has been loaned out to get some experience. He wouldn't have made the first team anyway.
Rufus Brevett (Plymouth, free). Gave good service while he was here and will relish the chance to come back after his horrible injury. Good luck Ruf.
Stephen Bywater (Coventry, loan). From languishing in the reserves and on loan for years, Steve found himself first choice keeper when DJ left, and now he's gone back out on loan. Looked good while he was in the first team but couldn't keep his form and Walker overtook him. Now that Hislop has signed, I don't expect to see Steve playing for us this season, although it's likely we'll see him next season, or the next... He's still very young.
Luke Chadwick (Stoke, loan). Didn't impress greatly, and will be available for a callback if we have injury problems, otherwise, won't be missed.
Don Hutchison (released). Finally gone. Had no place under Pardew's management and leaves the club after long periods of injury and personal problems. Won't be missed on the pitch.
Chris Powell (Charlton, free). A surprising release, Chris couldn't agree terms for a new contract with the club and went back to Charlton. Looks like we got the better end of the Powell/Konchesky swap, but it would have been nice to have Powell stay. I can't comment on the contract deal that West Ham offered him, but he would have been a good player to have as backup behind Konchy.
Sergei Rebrov (Dynamo Kiev, free). Won't be missed. Too lightweight for the Championship, it was unlikely that he'd impress in the Premiership.
PLAYERS WE HAVE BEEN LINKED TO:
Lots! But at the moment we're only going to be signing a striker, if anyone, and many (Baros, Crouch, etc) have made their moves. The only ones left who we could realistically sign are Dean Ashton, Andy Johnson, and Benni McCarthy. Of these, I'd be happy with any.
Pardew's made some great signings without splashing a lot of cash around. He's been clever in the market but may have made a mistake in letting Powell go. He has also failed to make a big name striker signing so far, and it's been somewhat surprising that he hasn't made a big money bid for a name like Dean Ashton. He's had many an offer turned down, though, and he could also be concerned about players like Ashton and Johnson losing their flavour, as they haven't been long term proven goalscorers. Ferguson made that mistake with Saha and Pardew may want to be more careful with the money, especially after prior West Ham signings Repka and Hutchison haven't brought their value back to the club. (OK Repka is a good player, but was he really worth that much? I don't think so.)
We have a great midfield; Mullins and Reo-Coker are showing fine form and Etherington and Yossi are both looking good too. Defence is also looking solid with Gabbidon and Ferdinand developing a good partnership, while Repka, Ward, and Dailly all provide quality backup. We have a few players up front but nobody really truly classy except Teddy. I think Pardew's done for now, and will make a bid for someone in January. The team may prove a little toothless in attack but if Harewood and/or Zamora have a good run of form, which they are both more than capable of doing, we should be fine.