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From Onyekuru To Onye-kookoo: Status Of The West Ham Strikers

With the preliminary month of transfer negotiations coming to a close, let’s assess West Ham’s moves, or lack thereof, so far in this offseason.

Now let me be honest, this article comes on the heels of West Ham losing out on a highly-touted Nigerian forward Henry Onyekuru to Everton, but my thoughts have settled at this time. What has ensued is an all out Twitter war with the battle lines drawn between those who wanted Onyekuru and those who think the loss of him does not matter. The main arguments are that West Ham’s board are penny pinchers and refused to hand over the asked for fee (£7.8million), whereas the opposition believes he is unproven against top competition, and his inability to get a work visa to England made the signing worthless. To clear up, Everton has signed Onyekuru and will loan him out to Anderlecht for the next 12 months.

Onyekuru may have a lot of promise and was absolutely what West Ham needed. His speed and creativity allowed him to lead the Belgian league in goals. However, the ability to not use Onyekuru if they signed him this year is a big deterrent in their pursuit of him. The funds saved from this signing may be better used on a proven striker.

What may end up being the biggest loss for the followers of West Ham United is the apparent death of the @exWHUemployee Twitter account, who has deactivated after death threats following the Onyekuru signing. The in-the-know blogger, affectionately called “Ex”, was a solid bet for transfer news regarding West Ham, and has received blame for tipping off clubs to West Ham transfer targets. The idea of a Twitter personality swaying the opinions of Premier League front offices seems far-fetched to me, but to some of the fans that call themselves supporters of West Ham United, a dividing opinion is enough justification to cannibalize the fan base.

So now what?

What the board can do to relieve some pressure from themselves is sign some players. Or they can put the immediate fire out, sign one of their targets with a reputable track record, in the coming days. The budget for this summer’s transfers is rumored to be £60 million, with the addition of any money made from moving out players.  With the money made off of Havard Nordtveit, and possibly more players, West Ham should be able to afford the two strikers they need plus one or more pacey forwards. Ideally, West Ham would meet the asking price of Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and accept the required buyback clause as well.

West Ham is still in limbo with the loan deal of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, as well as the proposed permanent switch of Arsenal’s Oliver Giroud. Batshuayi hangs in the balance as Chelsea have yet to agree to terms with Everton star striker Romelu Lukaku. He could still technically be involved in a swap deal, however, it appears Chelsea are just covering themselves in the case Lukaku does not come aboard.

Likewise, Arsenal is hot in pursuit of a striker that would release Giroud, hopefully to West Ham. Ligue 1 Lyon has signed Chelsea striker Bertrand Traore, which should release Alexandre Lacazette to head over to Arsenal. If these dominoes fall in West Ham’s favor, it has been reported by Sam Inkersole, of Football.London, that West Ham could offer him up to £130,000/week in an effort to lure him to East London. This would make him the club’s highest earner, and would be on a rumored four-year deal.

With his finger on the pulse of West Ham transfer targets, Inkersole has also compiled an impressive list of forwards linked with the club.

Some notables include Irish international Shane Long, who has been wanted by manager Slaven Bilic for a while. As well, Martin Braithwaite has told his club he wishes to leave this summer and West Ham is linked with the striker. A surprise to the list is 28-year-old Arsenal forward Theo Walcott. West Ham has shown interest if the player was available, as he can play up top, behind the striker or off the wing. There are rumors of a possible £50 million deal for both Walcott and Giroud.

Perhaps some of the most intriguing news from West Ham in regards to strikers is the news about unwanted front men, Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia. Valencia has had a £5million offer rejected by West Ham from the Mexican side Tigres. Whether this is the board trying to pressure the suitors for more money, or them covering themselves in case they do not get a striker or speedy forward signed, this news is rather upsetting as Valencia is generally not desired by the fans of the club. Many have seen what he brings and believe a new option could supply much more than what he does.

Similarily, oft-injured striker Diafra Sakho has received a new physical regimen in order to maximize his off time in hopes to maximize his on-pitch time in the upcoming season. It is unclear whether new head of physio, Gary Lewin, has created this plan for Sakho, however, this is really just an effort to either try and find a suitor for him, or to get something out of this player who is not desired by any clubs.

Hopefully, West Ham can quickly combat their negative press by making a signing…or four. It is desperately needed by the club and would extinguish the fire that is closing in on the executive board of the club.

Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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