WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
27%
  
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
10%
  
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
6%
  
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
35%
  
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done
21%
  



Irish Hammer 10:26 Fri Sep 3
Decent read on our new signings.

West Ham transfers: Explaining Moyes’ moves for Vlasic, Zouma and Kral

The majority of staff at CSKA Moscow have positive stories to share when it comes to Nikola Vlasic and there is one in particular that highlights why West Ham United were so keen to sign him.

Whenever the Russian club had evening games at the VEB Arena, Vlasic would arrive hours in advance to work out at the gym. Staff became accustomed to seeing the playmaker arrive at around 12pm for 7.45pm kick-offs. The 23-year-old had a reputation for being dedicated, which set him apart from his team-mates — and these are the types of players West Ham manager David Moyes is determined to add to his squad.

There has been plenty of positivity and excitement surrounding the arrivals of Vlasic, Alphonse Areola, Kurt Zouma and Alex Kral. With a Europa League campaign on the horizon, Moyes needed squad depth and the reluctance to sign players to make up the numbers has had the desired effect. Since returning to the helm in December 2019, there has been a focused strategy, with the manager adopting the mantra of quality over quantity.

West Ham paid €30 million (£25.7 million), plus €9 million (£7.7 million) in add-ons for Vlasic, who has signed a five-year contract with the option for an additional year. Zouma joined from Chelsea for €30 million (£25.8 million) on a four-year deal, and Kral and Areola have arrived on season-long loans from Spartak Moscow and Paris-Saint Germain with options to buy on both.

Moyes is known for being meticulous when it comes to identifying targets, and it is no secret recruitment has markedly improved over the last 20 months. It could be argued that West Ham have had their best summer window for quite some time. There is more importance on signing players who have resale value and a strong ethic. Vlasic working out hours before a game is similar to Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek regularly turning up at Rush Green on their days off to train.

A small section of supporters were frustrated about the lack of a new striker, but there are alternatives with Vlasic, Jarrod Bowen and Andriy Yarmolenko capable of playing up front. Vlasic didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye to his team-mates because they were given four days off by CSKA manager Aleksei Berezutski following their 1-0 loss to Zenit Saint Petersburg. On Tuesday, they returned to training when the playmaker had already completed his move. Instead, the Croatia international said his goodbyes on their WhatsApp group.

In Vlasic’s three-year spell in Russia, he made more than 100 appearances, scoring 33 goals during that time. He was named Russian Premier League’s player of the year in 2020.

“I was really impressed with how determined Nikola was to become a West Ham player,” said Moyes. “It’s that hunger and ambition that fits with what we are trying to build here at the club.”

Vlasic, who has been capped 27 times for Croatia, was initially offered to the club in the summer of 2019 when Manuel Pellegrini was manager. West Ham opted not to sign the attacking midfielder and pursued other targets. This summer, the possibility of signing Vlasic was considered too good an opportunity to turn down. It is thought the playmaker’s man-of-the-match performance in Croatia’s 3-1 win against Scotland at this summer’s European Championship left a lasting impression on Moyes.

The likelihood of Jesse Lingard, who scored nine goals in 16 league appearances during his loan spell, returning was always deemed unlikely. The England international believes he is capable of breaking into the team at Manchester United, and West Ham acted quickly to bolster their attacking options with the signing of Vlasic.

Moyes has played a 4-2-3-1 formation so far this season, with Michail Antonio leading the line, Said Benrahma playing in the No 10 role and Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen operating on both flanks. Vlasic is versatile and capable of playing across the front three.

In an interview with The Athletic, Vlasic spoke about the challenges he endured under Sam Allardyce at Everton, whom he joined from Hadjuk Split as a teenager in 2017. “The hardest was when we would play 4-4-2,” he said. “I would be on the right wing but it was more right wing-back because we were so defensive. I played three or four times under Allardyce and I felt like I was a full-back.”

Vlasic spoke to Moyes in person and over the phone, and openly admitted to being invested in West Ham’s quest for a European berth last season. In his first interview with the club, he outlined how his experience at Everton made him stronger. “My mentality is not the same as when I was 19,” Vlasic said. “It’s four years since when I was in the Premier League and I really feel like I need to prove something to myself.

“It’s not that I didn’t feel I was good enough then, I think I was, it was just a problem with the changing of coaches and everything. The situation now is different. I am coming to a big club and they expect big things from me, and I also expect big things from myself, so I think it will be a really exciting time.”

vlasic everton
Vlasic struggled with Allardyce’s defensive tactics at Everton (Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
The Athletic understands Marc Rochon has also joined the club as an analyst and, in his similar role for the Croatia national team, it is thought he was able to provide favourable reports about Vlasic. It is another example of Moyes being keen to enhance the recruitment department, followed by the positive news that Rob Newman is set to join as head of recruitment later this month. The reason for Newman’s delayed start is because he is still on gardening leave by Manchester City. Newman has a proven track record and it is a bonus that he was one of City’s key scouts in Europe. His arrival will allow him and Moyes to plan for the January window.

In the short term, the addition of Kral from Spartak Moscow is a huge plus. The 23-year-old will most likely be the third option behind the midfield pair of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. It is expected the defensive midfielder will receive game time in cup games and the Europa League if Moyes chooses to rotate his side.

The delay in signing Kral was mainly due to Conor Coventry impressing in pre-season, noticeably in the games against Northampton Town and Reading. In July, Championship side Peterborough United enquired about signing the promising midfielder and were told he is not for sale. But Moyes felt the 21-year-old would be better off playing regular first-team football under Darren Ferguson, which is why he allowed him to move on loan. Ferguson and Moyes have a good rapport, which enabled Peterborough to see off competition from other interested Championship sides.

Coventry isn’t the only youngster who has gone out on loan. During the summer window, Mipo Odubeko, Nathan Trott and Joseph Anang sealed season-long loans to Huddersfield Town, Nancy and Stevenage.

Arthur Masuaku, meanwhile, has been training with the under-23s as he nears full fitness following a knee injury. The 27-year-old has played in their wins against Millwall, Arsenal, Chelsea and the 4-2 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Ajax full-back Nicolas Tagliafico and Juventus left-back Luca Pellegrini were linked with moves to West Ham, but strengthening in the full-back position was never deemed a priority, nor were there any plans for Masuaku to be farmed out on loan or sold. He is expected to be available for selection after the international break.

Kral was called up for Czech Republic’s World Cup qualifiers against Belarus, Belgium and Ukraine. When Soucek was named Hammer of the Year in August, he hinted there was room for more of his compatriots — and Kral’s arrival has been well received by supporters. He has been capped 22 times and made four appearances at this summer’s European Championship. He isn’t known for being box-to-box like Soucek, and it’s not expected that he will offer too much going forward, having only registered one league goal in the last five seasons but he earned a reputation in Russia for being solid defensively.

Vlasic’s family plan to move with him to London. He is already familiar with living in England following his spell at Everton. The playmaker is very family-orientated and in June, Vlasic and his long-term partner Ana had a son.

Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic was a target but after arduous negotiations with his representatives, Moyes turned down the chance to sign the centre-back in favour of signing Zouma.

Zouma has swapped west London for east London and the defender will wear the No 4 jersey. He completed his medical in Paris and his fun-loving personality rubbed off on staff during his introductory interview.

“My conversation with the manager went very fast,” said Zouma. “I just felt like he really wanted me to come and join the team, especially a good team that’s started the season very, very well.”

That has been the main takeaway from West Ham’s new signings. Areola, Zouma, Kral and Vlasic wanted to join a side that is on an upward trajectory. There was a time when West Ham fell into the trap of players who joined in the hope of getting one last payday. These days, you have Fornals speaking to media outlets in Spain about why he wants to retire at the club. Once upon a time, disgruntled players would use this medium to state their talents would be better suited at a bigger side.

But West Ham have become the envy of other teams in the Premier League. They have a generational talent in Rice, an in-form striker in Antonio, experienced backroom staff and a manager in Moyes who has assembled a team that the supporters can be proud of.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Lily Hammer 12:26 Sat Sep 4
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Bowen, Benrhama and Fornals better warn him that if he plays wide, he’ll have to put a defensive shift in under Moyes, too.

The big difference between how we play under Moyes and how he had to play under BFS, is that we have a more mixed and attractive way of transitioning from defence to attack. We break at speed in large numbers, whereas BFS just says hoof and hope.

Willtell 12:20 Sat Sep 4
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
"In an interview with The Athletic, Vlasic spoke about the challenges he endured under Sam Allardyce at Everton, whom he joined from Hadjuk Split as a teenager in 2017. “The hardest was when we would play 4-4-2,” he said. “I would be on the right wing but it was more right wing-back because we were so defensive. I played three or four times under Allardyce and I felt like I was a full-back.”
----------------------------

That paragraph encapsulates exactly why BFS was so toxic an appointment to WHU and England come to that.

Mex Martillo 8:56 Sat Sep 4
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Not sure why we didn’t get a forward. In another article posted by Irish they talked about how Moyes had the same problem, inability to buy a forward at Everton. Perhaps it is Moyes problem, to take a decision and splash a lot of cash. I hope this new recruitment guy will help Moyes with that. A good forward coming in, in January would be nice.

chim chim cha boo 8:52 Sat Sep 4
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Thanks Irish, stay well.

gph 12:23 Sat Sep 4
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Thanks, Irish.

Can't deny that this looks like good work by the club, but one more decent signing would have been needed for me to be happy.

A striker.

Hammer and Pickle 10:47 Fri Sep 3
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Thanks rish!

plankton 10:32 Fri Sep 3
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Thanks for that, Irish!

Mex Martillo 10:06 Fri Sep 3
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Good read
Thanks Irish

Thanks Irish 12:28 Fri Sep 3
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Thanks Irish

147man 11:58 Fri Sep 3
Re: Decent read on our new signings.
Thanks Irish





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