David Gold and David Sullivan aren’t taking any chances this season. On transfer deadline day, that breathless last-gasp scramble, the West Ham co-owners have orchestrated a stunning flurry of deals, all completed before the final gong rang. Whether it was signings that had lingered uncompleted for weeks or surprise transactions that emerged from the deadline day chaos, all of them strengthened key squad areas in need of attention. Slaven Bilic urged the need to press on with signing another striker in his press conference after the win over Liverpool, and Nikica Jelavic was secured from Hull City for a fee rumoured to be around £3 million. The Croatian, who had played under Bilic for the national team, signed a two-year contract. He will be an able back-up striker, to join Andy Carroll, Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia.
Then, a few hours later, Victor Moses was signed on loan from Chelsea. The 24 year old attacker had signed fresh terms with the Blues, before joining up with the Hammers for a single season spell. His loan move to Stoke last season has made him a very well-liked player at the Britannia, and he is, without doubt, an exciting new asset to stand alongside Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini. Then, with less than three hours remaining in the period, it was confirmed that the Hammers had signed Nottingham Forest winger Michail Antonio. A bid for the player had been lodged earlier in the day by the club, but the deal had stalled, with Forest reportedly wanting the full fee upfront, where West Ham were offering an incentivised, structured payment plan. Still, a solution must have been thrashed out by the parties involved, and just in time too. The Englishman joined for £7 million, and signed a four year contract.
But the final third wasn’t the only section of the pitch to receive reinforcement. Earlier in the day, Alex Song was secured to return for a second season at Upton Park, again on loan. The Cameroonian had wanted a permanent deal, but his current condition meant that West Ham were only willing to take him back on a temporary basis. Song is nursing a troublesome ankle problem, and West Ham’s understandable trepidation explains why the deal took so long to complete, having been mooted for months. Of course, Song was hugely impressive when on loan at West Ham last season, particularly in the first half of the season and, along with Pedro Obiang and Reece Oxford – and assuming Song can return to full fitness – West Ham are fully stocked in defensive midfield.
There were also swirling reports of a move for Tottenham’s maverick striker Emmanuel Adebayor, though with Jelavic arriving, this never eventuated. Considering Adebayor’s habit of starting fast at new clubs, then slowing down to near-glacial levels of inactivity, fans’ feelings on this were thoroughly mixed.
The final day’s work took West Ham’s transfer total up to 11 incoming players. The squad was handily tabulated up by an astute Twitter user.
Harking back to last season’s transfer period, when the club released Carlton Cole and was then forced to resign him as an emergency stop-gap when no other strikers were secured, it makes this deadline day appear even more resplendent. These finish-line deals, as well as the neat business that was conducted earlier in the period, makes for an impressive statement of intent for the last season at Upton Park. The squad is deep, the fans are happy, and already unwanted records that have stood for half a century are being broken. Now, it seems, it’s all up to Bilic and his now swelling bevy of players. The owners have done their part. The hallowed turf at the Boleyn Ground, soon to be upturned, is now the stage for what is certain to be an intriguing final season there.
This article first appeared on Outside90.com