Will Avram Grant pick his own Upton Park transfers this transfer window?
West Ham tickets available from Tixdaq.com
Bet on West Ham United with Sportingbet.com and get a free bet worth up to £50
West Ham have had a fairly horrible season so far.
Aside from a decent Christmas period, the Hammers have been in shocking form.
The only reason they are still in touch is because 3 of their 4 wins have come against fellow relegation rivals Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers – but they still sit bottom of the Premier League.
Is the current malaise around Upton Park the fault of Avram Grant, the players or the meddling board?
Probably a bit of all three.
Certainly the majority of the players endured a similarly struggling campaign with Gianfranco Zola in charge, which slightly advocates Avram Grant from blame.
However, to use Liverpool as a counterpoint, the Reds have used the same players under both Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish and the contrast has been clear to see.
A new manager should be able to have an effect on his team by employing different tactics and installing a different mentality.
However, the players have severely underperformed – perhaps with the exception of Scott Parker – and they have to also be accountable.
Furthermore, both Gianfranco Zola and Avram Grant as well as the players could argue that they have been regularly undermined by the board’s insistence on criticising the team’s performances publicly, and the constant unresolved speculation over either manager’s future must hardly ease tension within West Ham ranks.
West Ham undoubtedly had an appalling start to the season, but perhaps they could have turned it around earlier without the needless sniping from the board.
Will the owners back Grant in the transfer market now?
All the signs are that they will have to in order to stave off relegation – irrespective of who’s in charge.
Here are ten potential January transfer targets as reported elsewhere in the media.
1. Gary O’Neil
At time of writing Gary O’Neil is yet to complete his projected transfer to West Ham from Middlesbrough, but it is clear where the Hammers will benefit upon its conclusion.
O’Neil is an excellent crosser of the ball, and also capable of a mean free kick. He is capable of playing both on the right wing and in the centre of midfield, but it is on the flank where West Ham fans can expect to see him.
2. Jamie O’Hara
Jamie O’Hara is another expected to add drive to the West Ham midfield, and was one of the few Portsmouth players to have been judged a success in the ultimately unsuccessful relegation battle under Avram Grant.
Merely on loan at Portsmouth then, O’Hara has returned to his parent club Tottenham Hotspur and is unable to get playing time.
Both he and Spurs are likely to be open to a move.
3. Itay Shechter
Aside from perhaps Frederic Piquionne, West Ham United’s strikers are not firing.
Hapoel Tel Aviv striker Itay Shechter certainly is though, and has 37 goals in 72 games for his club.
The 23 year-old appears to be a natural finisher, and could certainly be the goal threat that West Ham are looking for, but Hapoel would be looking for considerably more than the $500,000 he cost them back in 2009.
4. Robbie Keane
Tottenham Hotspur are looking to offload Robbie Keane, and as a player who cost £20m two and a half years ago, he still ought to have plenty to offer.
Somehow though, his decline has been rapid.
Now 30 years of age, his stock could hardly be lower, but proven Premier League goalscorers are hard to come by, and West Ham may well take the gamble on the Irishman.
5. Srdan Lakic
Srdan Lakic is a striker for FC Kaiserslauten in the German Bundesliga, and has been quite a success indeed.
The 6’1″ Croatian has scored 30 goals in 66 league games since signing for the club, but an offer of £2m may tempt his employers into a sale – according to the Daily Mirror
6. Peter Utaka
Avram Grant managed the older Utaka brother John while at Portsmouth, and there are steadily building rumours that he could go for the 27 year-old Peter Utaka.
The Odense Boldklub has scored 56 goals in 100 games for the Danish club, but the English Premier League would be a tougher prospect.
Pressure to be an immediate success would be another issue though, for West Ham need a goalscoring solution straight away, but the Daily Mail believe Peter Utaka is their man.
7. Sol Campbell
The West Ham defence has also been shaky this season, conceding 43 goals in 24 Premier League games so far. That run includes just 3 clean sheets.
Sol Campbell proved last season on loan at Arsenal that he still has something to offer at the highest level, and while he has been unable to displace Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson from the Newcastle United first XI, he could slot right into West Ham United’s, according to the Daily Mirror.
Could an experienced head be what the Hammers need?
8. Shaun Wright-Phillips
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has made it clear that Shaun Wright-Phillips is available this transfer window, and there are plenty of suitors out there for the England winger.
The Daily Star believes that West Ham are amongst those.
Wright-Phillips is a fine dribbler with an extremely powerful shot, but his propensity to hit wayward five yard passes and shanked crosses make him a risk.
With no first team football at Eastlands, perhaps Wright-Phillips would be open to a West Ham move – but that would of course mean Gary O’Neil playing centrally.
9. El Hadji Diouf
Although a man who isn’t even particularly popular with his own supporters, El Hadji Diouf is still a good footballer capable of playing on both wings and up front.
Due to persistent spitting attacks on opposition players while at Bolton Wanderers, then manager Sam Allardyce considered sending Diouf for counselling.
The spitting seems to have ceased, but he was recently described by QPR boss Neil Warnock as “lower than a sewer rat” after reportedly taunting Jamie Mackie as he lay on the ground with a broken leg.
Is avoiding relegation is more important than popularity?
That is the dilemma for West Ham – if the Daily Mirror’s report is accurate.
10. Joe Cole
It is a near universal opinion that Joe Cole hasn’t been a roaring success at Liverpool, and if the Anfield club look to cut their losses rather than give him time, West Ham would certainly be interested.
For most clubs, Cole’s wages might prove a problem, but David Gold and David Sullivan have proved by forking out for Wayne Bridge’s £90,000 per week that they are willing to spend what it takes.
At his best, Joe Cole could be a real lift for the fans and fellow players, with his dribbling and creativity a great outlet for his team.
However, the more desperate to impress he gets, the less often his attempted tricks and through balls seem to come off, and West Ham can’t afford to waste chances at present.
Would Joe Cole’s signing be a fairytale homecoming or an expensive mistake?
Fancy a flutter? Join Sportingbet and get a free bet worth up to £50! There are countless markets to bet on including which team will win, the first goalscorer, the correct score or even the time of the last goal. You can also try your hand at an accumulator and try to win big from a small stake. So visit Sportingbet.com and register now to put your money where your mouth is.