Saturday, 2 June 2007

News From The Inside

The following is an interesting and very insightful glimpse into the thoughts of West Ham's inner sanctum, as provided courtesy of a well-placed source. Obviously, no names or clues that could compromise the person's anonymity can be provided but the details are known to be pretty reliable.

  1. The Icelandic owners are very ambitious, very committed and apparently absolutely loving the experience of being involved at West Ham, especially Eggert Magnusson. They were saddened by the prospect of relegation last season but always presented a confident air to all staff throughout and never flinched from the 'just a setback' line.
  2. The backing for Curbishley is unflinchingly resolute and £30million gross (of sales) is not an unrealistic assessment of our fire-power if required. However...
  3. It seems that the investment in the team is being prioritised for this year only and the new ground will become priority from next year- there is a very big commitment to this. So there will be an extensive overhaul of the team this term but then more of a 'one or two here, one or two there' approach thereafter.
  4. The impression is that Curbishley (and Day) are tough characters and have very principled views on how the players should act and what they should be responsible for. Neither are keen on 'individuals' and 'flash types'.
  5. The transfer activity this summer will attempt to build the nucleus of a top 6 side for the next 2-3 years.
  6. There is a very positive feel about all aspects of the club and staff now. Investment will be made in the academy and there is an intention to broaden the overseas scouting resource.
  7. The priority is to slim down the overall size of the squad and only bring in quality. Curbishley believes that there are too many 'average' players. It is maybe worth saying that Anton Ferdinand has got a stay of execution until January at least. This is due to an improvement in form at the tail end of the season, and the fact we would be unable to get maximum value for the player due to the impending court case. The player also wants to stay. Of all the central defenders at the club, it is Gabbidon who it is believed to be the most expendable. Curbishley sees him more as a rightback and does not believe the player has the physical presence to play centrally.
  8. We should not be surprised to see a net reduction of about 7-8 players this summer.
  9. The Tevez situation is still unclear. Kia Joorabchian still has a big hand to play in what happens and we are probably at the mercy of how Barcelona and Real Madrid proceed this summer. We are committed to fighting hard to keep the player though, but if we do then probably just for another year on effectively a loan-fee basis.
  10. There are no concerns over the impending Arbitration. Magnusson seems to have assurances fron FIFA that we will be fine.
  11. Our priority for team strengthening is in midfield. Reo-Coker is obviously leaving and we want two central midfielders and a right-sided player, or one that can play either flank.
  12. Scott Parker was always Curbishley's first choice and the deal is virtually sealed- terms agreed with both Newcastle and the player in principle. He will sign after medical this weekend, in the early part of next week.
  13. Joey Barton is not really a target and if we have approached then it is via his agent. There has been no contact with Manchester City over the fee etc. It is believed Barton would not be the type of player Curbishley is seeking in terms of his attitude.
  14. Yaya Toure is a name that has been mentioned in-house but this one would be down to Magnusson first and foremost. Interest could well have been registered but it is felt the player is likely to stay in Europe with a top Spanish or Italian club.
  15. Claude Makelele is a possible option. We have asked to be kept informed should Chelsea give the green light. The fee is no more than £1million but the wages are very high.
  16. We are looking at a Scandinavian kid (u-21s) to be brought in and groomed for 1-2 years time. He's currently playing in Sweden but no name was given.
  17. Tim Cahill is believed to be of interest and Lucas Neill is said to be keen on getting his compatriot into the club. Our stance seems to revolve around Reo-Coker and our hope that Everton might want him.
  18. The wide player we targeted was to be Giles Barnes but now it is unlikely since Derby made it up. We could go again in January if Derby are struggling. We have dismissed Koumas and have been offered Chris Eagles. The names still on the list are Barnetta (agent informed), Routledge (as a stop-gap) and surprisingly Ashley Young, who still crops up. We are prepared to look outside of UK to fill this slot.
  19. We also want a leftback to take over from George McCartney. Nicky Shorey has been approached and Reading contacted. Mullins may be bait here. The fee would be between £4-5million and we will talk with player & agent within the next 10 days. A deal is not imminent but we remain hopeful. If that fails then there is a target in Germany - no name given. Baines is a not an option due to our relations with Wigan at the moment, plus Curbishley is not a big fan. Paul Robinson of WBA is also on the list as an option.
  20. The striker situation is confused by Tevez. Ashton should be ready from August but it is hinted all is not yet 100% with him. Bobby Zamora will stay but Cole will leave and Harewood is viewed as dispensable. There is absolutely no interest in Bellamy at all and Viduka will not uproot his family from the NE, though we were very keen.
  21. Darren Bent is Curbishley's first choice striking option and this is regardless of whether Tevez stays or not. We are trying to tie up a deal before the Tevez situation clears so as not to be held to ransom. Delegations from clubs meeting next week (Tuesday) to discuss formal offers. Agent and player are aware and behind the scenes terms have been discussd already. We would offer a choice of players from Mullins, Harewood, Gabbidon, Walker, and Davenport. We are in poll position on Bent but Charlton may play hard ball. Liverpool are thought to have bigger targets and Tottenham are only interested if Defoe goes. It is even possible that Bent could join Spurs and Defoe come to us. Bent's fee for cash is £12million minimum, probably more.
  22. Yakubu is our second choice and he is thought to be available. We were interested in Gudjohnnson, but he has no interest in joining us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent erudite summary. Thanks for the info it all sounds very realistic but promising.


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