Sunday, 8 July 2007

Bellamy Signs (Almost)

The other major West Ham related story to trouble the media today has been Craig Bellamy's impending arrival from Liverpool. The Observer confirm the two clubs have agreed a fee but the deal will not be finalised until Monday. Liverpool's manager Rafael Benítez claimed that the Welsh striker had already signed a contract. "It's done. It's a good move for him," he told reporters yesterday afternoon; but this was followed by a statement on the West Ham site that read: "After a fee of £7.5million was agreed between the two clubs, we can confirm that the Welsh international captain has successfully passed a medical and agreed personal terms. However, the deal has been delayed due to a private contractual issue between Craig Bellamy and Liverpool, which must be resolved before any transfer can be completed. The player is due to meet with Liverpool on Monday morning, and we expect to complete the transfer soon after."

The Times believe the deal could eventually be worth up to £8 million and that it is a four-year contract worth about £70,000 a week. The actual figure is nearer £45,000 a week but then Eggert Magnusson's stated insistence on a £55,000 weekly salary cap is proving a bit of an unpalatable truth for the West Ham baiting press. James Ducker writes that Bellamy is joining his seventh club since making his debut for Norwich City in 1996 and despite having cost a total of more than £30 million in transfer fees, he has yet to make the impact that his talent suggests he should. He then offers a potted breakdown of the 27-year-old's colourful past.

Clubs in the bag

Craig Bellamy has played for six clubs. More often than not, he has not left fond memories behind.

  1. Norwich City 1996-2000 Showed his potential at Carrow Road, despite suffering injuries
  2. Coventry City 2000-01 Cost £6.5 million but left when Coventry went down
  3. Newcastle United 2001-05 Run-ins with Graeme Souness led to the £6 million striker being loaned out
  4. Celtic 2005 Upset Alan Shearer with abusive text messages while in exile in Scotland
  5. Blackburn Rovers 2005-06 Fine season after £5 million move but was off at first interest from Anfield
  6. Liverpool 2006-07 Hit John Arne Riise with a golf club and scored in the Nou Camp to help to beat Barcelona. Fair return for £6 million

Rod Liddle continues the spite and ponders the question: Who do you think Craig Bellamy will punch first at Upton Park? He writes:

"It’s going to end in tears one way or another, isn’t it? Hammers fans should maybe look on the bright side. Usually in the close season your team buys a foreigner, some strange-looking cove from Sporting Plutonium of Minsk or Dinamo AntiSemite of Croatia and you think well, hey, who knows, maybe he’ll be good for us, the gaffer obviously saw something in him... The great thing about Bellamy, assuming the move from Liverpool goes through, is that you can spare yourself all the angst and false optimism and hate him right this second. Especially if he’s being paid more money in a season than every other West Ham player in history added together and then multiplied by five. Maybe it was a hidden stipulation from the FA at the end of all the Tevez shenanigans – okay, we won’t dock you any points, but you have to buy Bellamy, and pay through the nose for it."

The Mail state Bellamy will become West Ham's fourth summer signing and take manager Alan Curbishley's spending since he arrived at Upton Park in December to nearly £40million. They also point out that the fee for Bellamy breaks West Ham's previous transfer record of £7.25million, which the Hammers paid Norwich for Dean Ashton in January 2006. One man who thinks he will be worth it is Sir Geoff Hurst. "In any sport you need people who are characters but there has been suspicion about Craig's character," he told Sky Sports News. "Undoubtedly he's a good player but when you pay a lot of money for someone you want them to be successful and we're going places now with the manager. You want to be sure you get the right man on and off the field. He's still young, he's still learning and if he has learned form his mistakes, undoubtedly he's a terrific talent. From a talent point of view he would do our club the world of good."

Jason Burt, writing in The Independent, is another who think Bellamy's wages will top £70,000 a week. The thing puzzling him is why Yossi Benayoun was not included in any deal. He states Liverpool have offered £4million for Benayoun, who has infuriated officials at West Ham with his behaviour once he was made aware of Rafael Benitez's interest, and recounts how Benayoun shook hands on a new five-year contract to stay at Upton Park - doubling his wages to £50,000 a week - but then stalled on signing the deal, saying he needed a holiday and wanted to wait until his wife had given birth. On returning he then insisted he wanted a clause inserted in his new contract that he could leave if Liverpool bid £5million for him. West Ham reacted by withdrawing the contract offer, while Benayoun has apparently now responded by saying he will never play for the club again. West Ham were initially considering making a swap offer for Liverpool's Djibril Cisse but the Frenchman favours a move back to Marseilles, where he spent a loan spell last season.

Burt claims Charlton Athletic are hoping to sign the West Ham midfielder Hayden Mullins, who will be allowed to leave Upton Park, although they will face competition from Reading. Rumours were rife last night that a £1million offer from the Addicks had already been accepted. He also declares that Reading left-back Nicky Shorey is no longer a target for Alan Curbishley and is now expected to sign a new contract at the Madejski Stadium. Other Sunday gossip includes Wigan making a £3.5million move for Marlon Harewood; Manchester City showing an interest in Paul Konchesky; Marseille considering a £1million offer for John Paintsil and West Ham and Newcastle United having a bitch-fight over £3 million FC Copenhagen midfielder Atiba Hutchinson. Finally, Rangers have taken a gamble on former West Ham and Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll. The thirsty Ulsterman was released by the Hammers at the end of last season and the 29-year-old becomes the seventh new arrival at Ibrox this summer.


Brian said...

Bellamy moves on again.
what is curbs thinking? do these managers not get it.
he is trouble.
next season he'll be off to another club another mug of a manager!

Anonymous said...

The fans will love Bellamy, trouble is who have you got to play alongside him?

Shinze said...

I'm undecided. I think he is a good player, but
Tevez is a great player. Losing him for someone
with a suspect temperment is not advisable in my
opinion. Looking forward to seeing Ashton return
from injury this coming season. Hope the Bellamy
rumors are ill founded, but sounds like its a done

Canada dry said...

Liverpool have done good business here.
I dont know about the buys but there are much better off without Bellamy and Cisse who mainly served to foster discontent and reduce moral.

Nell said...

bellamy was never a liverpool player for me.
only bought becase he had good sell on value
i hope next season we sighn a big star
messi of barca my choice

Verbatim said...

Christ on a bike, please tell me that isn't really Roy in that photo!


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