David Moyes is known to be meticulous when planning the acquisition of a new player, he is also very, very good at keeping his cards close to his chest when questioned about possible arrivals, usually defaulting to the missive "I don't discuss players who are currently contracted to clubs elsewhere, it would be disrespectful and unethical".
With public respect and ethics dealt with, Moyes is free to carry on with his plans. The long term injury to Angello Ogbonna is a curve ball that was not expected, but must have been anticipated given the player's age and recent injury record, it should be remembered that the Og was only just fit for the beginning of the season as a result of having sustained, yes you guessed it, a knee injury!
James Tarkowski is the media's choice as a replacement during the January transfer window as he is in the final year of his contract and would be available for a relatively low price compared to the crazy figure of around £50 Million quoted when Hammers were interested in the defender a year ago. However we have heard through our very well placed contact at Chelsea that West Ham have expressed more than a little interest in getting Kurt Zouma's old defensive partner Antonio Rudiger to come and join him in East London.
Rudiger's original five year deal expires at the end of the season and contract negotiations have reached an impasse over an extension, apparently the German International has been offered a deal of £150,000 per week which is a 50% increase on his previous wage of five years ago when he first joined Chelsea in a £29 Million deal from Roma. From what we have heard Rudiger wants his wags DOUBLED to £200,000 per week, far too rich for West Ham you would think, but therein lies the rub.
Football transfers are notoriously deceptive in their detail, with many clauses and sub clauses being added at will, but the maths can also be very confusing, we will attempt to elucidate. Kurt Zouma is only 18 months younger than Antonio Rudiger, but Hammers paid around £30 Million for him and gave him a wage of approximately £130,000 per week, sounds a lot doesn't it? But that is the going rate for a top player playing for a top team, IF Hammers are to pursue their aspirations to the fullest, then players with the calibre of Zouma are required.
Rudiger will be available on a free transfer in June, or Chelsea might seek to get some form of transfer fee in rather than wait until his contract has run down entirely enabling him to leave for free. If hypothetically he accepted £160,000 per week, his wages would be £8 Million per year. If he signed a three year deal ther club would be obligated to fork out around £24 Million in wages, he could then be sold on BEFORE entering the final year of his contract enabling the club to recoup anything between £10-20 Million in the process.
Compare those figures with the acquisition of Kurt Zouma, the club paid £30 Million and pay £130,000 per week in wages, over three years that is an expenditure of £20,300,000 in wages which combined with the purchase price is an expenditure of over £50 Million, small change compare with the overall cost of bringing in Rudiger.
Some might say "why are we buying 'Chelsea rejects'?" The answer being that they are very good players, Hammers are NOT yet ready to dine at football's top table quite yet, but acquiring top players who are NOT past it is a good start! Again there are those who would criticise a potential move, but there are those who can see the benefit of Zouma operating in tandem with Rudiger, as they have done so successfully in the past for the current Premier League leaders.
Of course a host of Europe's top clubs are interested in Rudiger, but the prospect of linking up with his old mucker for the 'new project' in East london, while still being able to live in the capital is a quite an incentive. It should also be remembered that apart from PSG and Real Madrid most clubs don't have a pot to do the proverbial in, as such Hammers might be in the driving seat.
Long term planning results in long term benefit, the club's old scatter gun approach has gone, hopefully never to return. -ED