David Sullivan: West Ham co-owner says transfers a significant challenge
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan says he is “getting more depressed” by their lack of signings and insists he wants to avoid a “civil war” at the club.
The Hammers have only signed midfielder Tomas Soucek during the summer transfer window and have started the season with defeats against Newcastle and Arsenal.
The results and lack of new faces have angered fans and Sullivan says the financial challenges brought on by Covid-19 are adding to the challenge.
“We’ve got limited funds,” he said.
Sullivan, 71, told Talksport: “We’ve also got the fact we’ll probably get no gate money for the rest of the season and we’ve got to keep the club afloat and pay wages.
“We’ve chased dreams the last two years and bought a pile of players who haven’t impacted the club, and maybe they will over the coming seasons because there are some damned good players.”
Last season West Ham signed the likes of strikers Sebastien Haller and Jarrod Bowen, as well as attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals.
According to football website Transfermarkt, the club spent £91m in 2018-19 and recouped £13m. In 2019-20 they invested £108m in new faces and brought in £49m.
Sullivan says the squad is now “unbalanced” and frustrations at the club have been evident, notably when captain Mark Noble publicly criticised the sale of Grady Diangana to West Brom. a week before the season started.
Since the sale, West Ham have made unsuccessful bids for Burnley defender James Tarkowski and Sullivan says he knows manager David Moyes is spending “18 hours a day” looking for players.
“I can’t just go and sign two or three players the manager doesn’t want,” Sullivan added.
“I could quite easily tomorrow go and sign 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 managers pick the teams.
“I cannot say for sure that we are going to sign anybody. As each day passes I am getting more depressed.
“We’ve now got the funds to buy a player or two, but unfortunately… the players the manager wants we can’t get.
“We have a number of bids in for a number of players, but teams don’t want to lose them… key players at decent sized clubs, outside the UK… so whether we get any of these players I do not know.”
The transfer window closes on 5 October and West Ham are also being linked with Juventus defender Daniele Rugani.
The club is also facing disruption after Moyes and two playing staff tested positive for Covid-19,meaning they must self-isolate and cannot attend training or the fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 27 September.