Monday, 4 June 2007

Wild Proclamations

The strange people over at the Daily Mail have plugged in their random name and number generator and have come up with a convoluted rumour about our supposed £13million plus £90,000- a-week interest in Everton striker Andrew Johnson. Neil Ashton insists the England striker is aware of the interest and although West Ham expect Everton to rebuff their opening bid, the London club are prepared to go as high as £18m, which could prove too good to turn down. The deal would not only double the player's earnings at Everton, but would also make Johnson the highest paid player in Hammers history if the bid is successful... and if you are thinking that these figures seem more than a little high then you are not alone. It seems that whenever West Ham get involved in a transfer story these days it has become de rigueur for the press to wildly inflate the money involved. Hence, Lucas Neill chose the Irons over Liverpool because of an 'obscene' weekly wage packet, estimated at the time to be any where between £60,000 and £90,000. When Scott Parker eventually signs it will be for a fee in excess of £8.5million and for wages of £72,000. None of these figures are actually close to being right, but then I can't recall the last time such things were ever reported accurately in conjunction with this club. It certainly wouldn't be in the Eggert Magnusson era, where the faint suggestion of an unspecified financial muscle seems to make even the most respected journalists go giddy with wild proclamations.

In any event, Everton have been quick to rubbish this particular story. In a statement released on their official site this morning, David Moyes said: "AJ was a top player at Everton last season and he will be again next season. The West Ham consortium wouldn't have enough money to buy Andrew Johnson or any other Everton player, and for them to think they could shows a lack of understanding of our game." Everton chief executive Keith Wyness is equally as adamant Johnson will remain at Goodison Park. "We have had no contact from any club with regard to Andrew Johnson - nor would we welcome any," he said. "Whilst I feel certain there will be many Premiership clubs who will covet a player of Andrew's skills and abilities, he is an Everton player and, as he made perfectly clear on several occasions last season, he is very happy to be an Everton player."

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