KIERAN GILL: Why West Ham couldn’t afford to ‘do a Tottenham’… the Hammers have bided their time and spent the £105m they received for Declan Rice wisely
- West Ham have already set about investing Declan Rice’s £100m transfer fee
- They have added Edson Alvarez and James Ward- Prowse to the squad
- WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 2 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show
Elon Musk did Tottenham a favour last week by removing all pictures posted on Twitter from before 2014.
Try to find that photograph of the so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’, signed after the £85million sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, and you will discover it has vanished from the club’s feed, along with thousands of others.
Erasing that infamous 10-year-old image from the memories of Spurs supporters will be more difficult, however. They remember the excitement descending into exasperation. They remember the optimism turning to pessimism. They remember Roberto Soldado and Paulinho.
West Ham remembered that, too. When they sold Declan Rice for £105m to Arsenal in July, emphasis inside the club was on how they could not afford to ‘do a Tottenham’ this summer.
Not only because it would be a waste of the money made on their captain. It was because if they finished 14th in the Premier League with Rice, where might they end up without him if proper replacements were not recruited? The Hammers now hope this window will go down as a winner with their own ‘Fantastic Four’.
Roberto Soldado scored just seven league goals for Tottenham in two seasons after joining for £26 million
Paulinho also struggled to establish himself at White Hart Lane and left after two years
If they can confirm the signing of Mohammed Kudus from Ajax — and insiders were hopeful on Thursday of an agreement in the next 24 hours — he will become their fourth signing after £35m Edson Alvarez, £30m James Ward- Prowse and £18m Konstantinos Mavropanos.
With £38m Kudus, West Ham’s spending would be taken up and over the fee received for Rice. A fifth signing could yet follow, too, with the club in talks with Sevilla over a loan with a £30m option for striker Youssef En-Nesyri.
There will be no victory lap from manager David Moyes until he sees how they fare in this most unforgiving of divisions, but for now we can whisper that it looks like West Ham have spent wisely this summer. Not bad for the club who were the last in the Premier League to make a signing.
‘Three weeks ago, everyone was saying we were in a mess,’ a West Ham source said yesterday. ‘But we didn’t want to rush or pay over the odds. We only wanted players who suited us. It’s a happy camp, I can assure you of that.’
Moyes and West Ham’s new technical director Tim Steidten have had their disagreements this summer, though insiders say that is normal. ‘We did not bring him in to be a yes man,’ says one of Steidten, who joined from Bayer Leverkusen and is known to favour a data-led approach to recruitment. Certainly you can see the statistical reasoning behind each of the signings.
Alvarez was first through the door from Ajax and West Ham’s recruiters were in agreement over the similarities this 25-year-old Mexico midfielder has with the departed Rice.
West Ham could not afford to do the same with their Declan Rice millions after selling the midfielder to Arsenal for £100m
The likes of James Ward-Prowse (left) and Edson Alvarez (right) have already arrived at the club
They noted how Alvarez can win the ball, take it forward and pick a pass, much like the man he has replaced. Ward-Prowse was next to join from Southampton and his attributes are no secret, namely in how he is a set-piece specialist.
Two assists in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Chelsea completed a dream debut for the 28-year-old England midfielder and, as a manager who says dead-ball situations are key, Moyes feels Ward-Prowse’s deliveries will be vital this season. Not least because 6ft 2in Alvarez has scored more headed goals from corners and free-kicks than any other player in Holland’s Eredivisie since 2021.
Mavropanos was their third signing from Stuttgart. The 25-year-old defender will not need time to adapt to the Premier League after four years at Arsenal. West Ham initially wanted Harry Maguire from Manchester United, but in Mavropanos they have turned to a 6ft 4in Greek mountain who should make his presence felt in Moyes’ backline.
Now, Kudus is on the verge of joining, although there is still some finalising of the deal to do. As one West Ham source said yesterday: ‘We won’t celebrate until the contract is signed, mainly because we know he’s a wanted man.’
He is indeed. Brighton wanted Kudus, but despite agreeing a deal with Ajax earlier this month, personal terms proved a stumbling block. Arsenal and Chelsea were also keen. Instead, the 23-year-old Ghana attacker should become West Ham’s most exciting buy of the summer.
He is a player full of flair who drives forward with the ball and is not short on confidence, having once said of Neymar: ‘He is not better than me. He’s just a higher profile player, that’s all.’
Highly-rated forward Mohammed Kudus could still join the club from Ajax
So long as there are no final complications, London Stadium is where we will see him try to prove his point.
Tottenham’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ in 2013 will forever act as a reminder that there are no guarantees when you splash the cash on players.
It is unlikely West Ham will make the same mistake of having their ‘Fantastic Four’ line up together for their own mugshots, just in case.
But right now, it is looking like Kudus to West Ham and kudos to West Ham for their work in this window.
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