Monday, 2 July 2007

West Ham Or Nowhere

There is an unwritten diktat in media circles that decrees a negative slant shall be imposed on any West Ham related story that appears in the national press. Hence, yesterday's signing of talented French winger Julian Faubert has today been turned into a discussion about how the player was desperate to sign for Rangers. An article in The Guardian quotes the player's representative as saying: "Julien was given an ultimatum by Bordeaux - West Ham or nowhere. He wanted to go to Rangers and had given them his word. Everything he did last week was about moving to Rangers and he wasn't looking to line up a move anywhere else. But there is nothing he could do about the transfer fee and you can understand why Bordeaux wanted to accept the offer from West Ham." Rangers were understood to have made an initial £4.3million offer for Faubert and were confident of concluding the deal, despite the interest of the Italian club Roma, until West Ham made their move. A move, described in the emotive terms specially reserved for comment about the Hammers, as "dwarfing" that of their Scottish counterparts.

Of course, there is a slight difference between being 'desperate for a move to Rangers' when that is the only offer open to you, and still being desperate for a move to Glasgow when other options become available. It is not a distinction that the Daily Mail are interested in making. Simon Cass voices the spurious opinion that "the fact that Faubert's first choice was clearly Rangers will have done little to ease worries over
Alan Curbishley's ability to attract top talent to Upton Park, having already suffered high-profile snubs from Darren Bent, Mark Viduka and Joey Barton." The player, insists Cass, was so keen to move to Scotland that the 23-year-old refused to join his club's pre-season training last week. That much is true, and yet the indecent speed with which Faubert agreed terms, passsed his medical and signed his contract after West Ham registered their interest, would seem to suggest that the player did not actually need that much persuading to switch his allegiance to London.

The Sun are not particularly interested in the finer details of the transfer but are content to brand Faubert a 'French hothead' with an
equally-fiery wife. The main evidence for this seems to be the player's hold-out last week in an attempt to force a move away from the Stade Chaban-Delmas. I would suggest the fact that Faubert is both a young footballer and French would seem to render his strike action completely understandable. The wife's crime was to throw herself fully-clothed into a swimming pool to celebrate her husband's debut goal for the French national team. It's not much of a story but it serves the purpose of allowing the paper to segue into a picture of Carlos Tevez; shown standing in a pool with his daughter Florencia during a respite in the Copa America in Venezuela. If it's good enough for The Sun...

In other news, the Daily Mail claim Aston Villa are on the verge of finally signing West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker in an £8million deal. The England Under-21 skipper is understood to have undergone a medical at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training complex over the weekend. Sources close to the midlands club are adamant the deal could finally go through in the early part of this week despite late interest from Manchester City. The article suggests that Martin O'Neill could also move for the rumoured Hammers targets Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermain Defoe after being promised "substantial funds" by Villa owner Randy Lerner.

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