Football UK

Sullivan lays out West Ham transfer predicament and aims dig at previous regimes


West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has issued a strong defence of their transfer policy – but admitted he fears they will not make any more signings this summer.

The Hammers have made just one summer signing, making Tomas Soucek’s loan deal permanent, and have lost their opening two games of the Premier League campaign.

Sullivan insists their lack of action is partly down to manager David Moyes’ targets being unattainable in the current market as he admitted they must act with some caution.

And he also aimed a dig at previous managers for failing to buy successfully as he claimed they “chased dreams” and paid for players who have not improved the club.

He did confirm multiple bids are currently on the table but did not instill confidence as he conceded being “depressed” at the thought no signings may come off.

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has defended their transfer business

Sullivan told talkSPORT : “It’s the manager’s decision. He doesn’t want to bring players in that, in his opinion, are just numbers, just squad players.

“He wants to bring players in who will improve the team. We have a number of bids in for a number of players.

“Teams don’t want to lose them, these are key players with decent sized clubs, obviously outside the UK, and they don’t want to lose them so it’s difficult.

“Whether we get any of these players I do not know. Some are young, some are old.

“I’m waiting for targets from the manager and we’ve got two or three bids in,” he continued. “Unfortunately the benchmark is very high and they’re very hard to get, those players.

When host Jim White said he had to act, he responded: “It’s like saying someone has got to break the world record – all you can do is do your best.

“We have got limited funds, and if we had £400m to spend and someone said you’d spend 10% of it, £40m, on a 28-year-old centre back from a Premier League club who will remain nameless, at £40million you’d probably get the player out.

David Moyes is in regular contact with Sullivan over new signings

“At 10% of your budget, it would make sense. But to spend your entire budget on a 28-year-old centre-back, one is struggling.

“We’ve also got the fact we’re going to get no gate money, possibly all season, and we’ve got to keep the club afloat, we’ve got to pay the wages.

“We’ve chased dreams the last two years and unfortunately bought a pile of players who unfortunately haven’t improved the club, maybe they will over the coming season as there are some damn good players.

“The reserve team we’re putting out in the Carabao Cup is a very, very good team, particularly in attacking, but we’re very short of defenders. 

“I can’t go and sign two or three players the manager doesn’t want. I could quite simply tomorrow go and buy two or three players, but we’d have a Civil War at West Ham, because I don’t pick the players.

“We have a manager who is a manager, not a coach. If he was a coach I could do that, but that’s not the way it works at West Ham. The manager picks the teams.

“Under the previous regimes, the only two players I picked were Diop and Fabianski and I bullied the managers to take them whether they liked both the players.

“All the other players the managers picked with their director of football and I regret, in a way, not stopping some of the signings but you have to back the manager.

Sullivan criticised previous regimes and players purchased by Manuel Pellegrini

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“But I cannot say for for sure we’re going to sign anybody. As each days passes I get more depressed, there’s no point saying otherwise.

“We are not Roman Abramovich, we are not the Abu Dhabi owners who own Man City, and even they have got some sense now in value. 

“They won’t overpay on what they value a player, and we’ll go a little bit more, but you can’t pay double what you value a player at.

“Because a) we haven’t got the money, the club will go bankrupt. These are difficult, difficult times and we have to be sensible.

“But we’ve got a good team, the team that is out there last one game in seven at the end of last season.

“We play like we played at Arsenal and that team will get wins and points against many, many teams in the Premier League.

“We had no luck at the weekend. No luck with every VAR decision went against us and it was so marginal. 

“We’re not a bad team, people talk us down, we are not a bad team. I accept at Newcastle, for some reason, we didn’t turn up.

“But we were back to our old self at Arsenal. We are a decent team.”

Asked to defend himself as an owner, he continued: “All I can say is we try our best. Nobody is right all the time, everybody makes good buys and bad buys.

“I’ve left it to the previous regime for two years, they didn’t buy well.

“Fans were on my back to have a director of football, have a big name manager. We did what the fans wanted. It didn’t work.

“We’ve now gone back to grassroots. A British manager who is picking his players, we speak every day about players.

“The final decision, though, is the manager. I cannot sign players the manager doesn’t want.”

West Ham’s owners have also come under fire for the sale of young talent Grady Diangana to West Brom.

Captain Mark Noble was amongst those to be critical of his exit on social media – but Sullivan issued a strong defence of the decision.

The sale of Grady Diangana to West Brom angered West Ham fans

Asked if he regrets selling the youngster, he said: “No. It was a decision made because we have eight wingers,”

“I’ve got agents offering me players all the time and if they’re wingers I say, ‘look, we’ve got too many wingers’.

“We’ve got some wonderful wingers who are not in the team. Robert Snodgrass, played yesterday in a holding midfield role, scored a wonderful goal.

“Anderson’s a fantastic player, Yarmolenko scored two, two assists last night, can play left or right wing.

“Unfortunately we’ve just got a very unbalanced squad. 

“We’ve now got the funds to buy a player or two, unfortunately, at the moment, the players the manager wants, we can’t get.

“He will be spending 18 hours a day looking at tapes trying to find players.” 


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