West Ham fans have come crashing back down to earth after their Europa Conference League win.
The Hammers won their first piece of European silverware since 1965 in June as they beat Fiorentina in Prague. But it’s fair to say that historic night and the celebrations that followed it were papering over some cracks showing behind the scenes.
As West Ham supporters were putting away their claret and blue flags and celebrations quietened down, their feelings of joy soon turned to ones of concern.
A lack of incoming transfers and coach departures are just a few of the red flags that have popped up and are becoming harder and harder to ignore.
West Ham were in serious danger of getting relegated back to the Championship last season, but a late turn in form saw David Moyes’ side clamber up to 14th place.
In truth, winning the Europa Conference League covered some worries for the Hammers, with fans themselves singing: “We’re going down with a European Cup” before their Premier League survival was confirmed.
So, just what is going on at the London Stadium and are West Ham fans right to be worried about the prospect of another relegation battle? talkSPORT.com has you covered…
It’s been 48 days since West Ham made their only signing of the summer – when 17-year-old Sean Moore from Cliftonville for an undisclosed fee. That’s despite them having a healthy £105m to play with after selling captain Declan Rice to London rivals Arsenal.
The Hammers have been unsuccessful in their pursuit of Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, with the Saints asking for £40m for their skipper, and talkSPORT brought you the news the east London club are set to walk away from their pursuit.
Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Conor Gallagher are other Premier League players that have been linked with the club, but as the summer transfer window enters its final month, the Hammers still haven’t signed anyone.
West Ham fans are understandably concerned any new recruits won’t have time to gel before the season begins. However, talkSPORT co-host and former Fulham star Danny Murphy believes the club are right to wait it out when it comes to recruitment, all due to Rice’s transfer fee.
“I don’t think West Ham fans should be panicking yet at all,” he told Drive. “They’ve got to be very cute and clever because everybody knows the money that they’ve got from Declan. They know people will be taking the Michael. People are going to be pushing their luck when they enquire about players.
“So I would expect, unfortunately, for David Moyes – and West Ham fans actually – that their business will get done late. What’ll happen is the realistic value of a player will become apparent as the window closes. So, don’t panic. Yes, you want to start the season well, I get it.
“This is the problem with the window being open until the end of August, but there’s no point in overspending for the sake of two or three weeks.”
Former West Ham coach Mark Warburton has the same theory, too, telling White and Jordan: “People you know you’re cash rich, so a £20m player becomes a £30m player and so on, you’ve got the money from Declan.
“You’ve got to try and look at the likes of Lucas Paqueta and [Gianluca] Samacca and these boys that came in last year [too]. Paqueta, what a player.”
It’s not only incomings that West Ham fans may need to be concerned about, though.
talkSPORT understands that Scamacca, Michail Antonio, and Aaron Cresswell would be open to exits.
Meanwhile, fan favourite Paqueta was left frustrated at points last season.
Paul Nevin and Warburton both left the club this summer, with the latter revealing his eventual frustration led him to walk away from the London Stadium the day after the trophy parade in Stratford.
“My philosophy is more attacking. [Moyes is] obviously built a fantastic reputation on having a strong defence, hard to beat et cetera,” he told White and Jordan.
“That was the combination and that was the idea. I think not in a rude way, and David will understand exactly what I’m saying, it’s hard to change the way you do things.”
When asked by Jim White if the pair clashed, Warburton replied: “Yeah we clashed, absolutely, in a good way. I think any manager should want to be challenged and it got to the point where I was getting frustrated and the point of a no.2 is to support the manager. I knew that was my ultimate responsibility.”
He continued: “The last thing you want is to have a no.2, no.3, no.4 that don’t give you their opinion and aren’t honest with you. If you have yes men, you’re doomed to failure. I’m sure myself, Billy [McKinlay], Paul Nevin, all these guys here would say the right thing.
“But it got to the point where I was challenging too often, it wasn’t right. David, he’s the manager.”
When asked if it was an amicable parting, he replied: “Yeah, very much [so]. I phoned David up on the Friday after the parade. I said for the sake of our friendship, let’s do the right thing.”
Moyes or move on?
Before this summer’s Europa Conference League glory, West Ham fans and pundits alike had begun questioning manager Moyes.
Despite signing eight players and spending in excess of £165 million in what appeared to be a successful transfer window, the Hammers struggled in the Premier League – and talkSPORT’s Rory Jennings doesn’t believe winning a trophy means Moyes is now immune from criticism this season.
Speaking on the Transfer Insider, Jennings said: “David Moyes isn’t a good enough manager. You can paper over cracks with European silverware.”
When co-host Hugh Woozencroft then reminded him he’d labelled the Europa Conference League win as ‘an amazing thing to do’, Jennings continued: “Those two things can co-exist. Winning that trophy is huge.
“It’s huge, it’s historic, winning silverware is massive, but you can paper over cracks. Bad managers can have a lot of success. Avram Grant nearly won a European cup with Chelsea.
“That didn’t make him a good manager. Had Chelsea won a European cup in Moscow, Grant should’ve been sacked. You can win silverware and still get sacked.
“David Moyes is a prime example of that. He had his day in the sun. The pictures of him celebrating with his father are truly beautiful, but there is no way he should be going into the new season as West Ham manager.”
Behind closed doors
David Gold sadly passed away at the age of 86 on January 4 following a short illness, marking a shift in the West Ham backroom.
And currently the hierarchy’s working relationships are potentially clogging things up.
talkSPORT understands new technical director Tim Steidten was brought in to tap into his European contacts, but he has been left frustrated.
It’s understood players he has recommended have been knocked back by David Moyes due to the Scot wanting a British core to the squad – hence the interest in Ward-Prowse, Gallagher, Maguire, and McTominay.
As a result, relations between Moyes and Steidten are really struggling and it could result in the latter walking away.
Sullivan is also trying to have his say as well, former captain Mark Noble is still there, and Rob Newman, their former transfer guru, has been completely sidelined – which will help explain why the Hammers are struggling to get players through the door.
It’ll be interesting to see where the land lies by the end of this month.
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