In past January transfer windows, we have seen sides facing the drop load up on new signings and loan players in an effort to stay in the Premier League. This season we have already seen some movement in January window. One team though that has been repeatedly frustrated is West Ham United under manager Sam Allardyce.
Big Sam had transfer targets picked out at the start of the month but thus far has not been able to do very much in the window. Johnny Heitinga — needing games to make the Dutch World Cup squad — turned down an offer to join the Hammers, instead opting to stay with Everton for the time being. Now we have news that Lacina Traore, thought to be headed to West Ham, is likely headed to Everton.
Traore also needs games if he is going to be on the plane to Brazil, but the Ivorian has evidently chosen to go to a club where he is less likely to feature regularly. Heitinga’s spot was instead taken by Roger Johnson who was told this summer by Wolves manager Kenny Jackett that he did not fit in the plans of the League One side. Johnson was sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday in September after Jackett could not sell the player in the summer and refused to issue him a squad number.
Johnson was loaned to West Ham after his Wednesday loan period expired. Filling a need for the Hammers, a player unwanted by a League One side moved right into the starting XI.
Allardyce commented on the transfer situation after the Hammers 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle on Saturday:
“We’re finding it extremely difficult [to sign players].
“We had a terrible day yesterday [Friday] when I thought a player was signing for us and then I found out he wasn’t, but there you go.
“[Any other club] can apply for a work permit like we did.
“They would have to do a separate application.”
The Hammers inability to close deals is somewhat shocking given Allardyce’s ability in the past to draw players at multiple clubs he’s managed. Just this summer, the manager brought Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll to the club and was able to attract some Premier League players to drop a division to join his team when in the Championship two seasons ago.
The reluctance of players to join West Ham at this stage must be questioned. Is it a simple issue of money or is there more to the story? Will the Hammers be able to close any deal that helps them attempt to avoid relegation before the close of this window? At this point it is looking unlikely, although that could certainly change.