Both Sam Allardyce and David Sullivan have confirmed in interviews and via twitter (no prizes for guessing which one used which form of media) that in order to bring in new players, some of our current players need to leave. Mathematically and financially, this makes sense to me.
The names suggested as having been told they can leave are Ricardo Vaz Te, Matt Taylor, Modibo Maiga, and Alou Diarra (metro.co.uk.) – Although I would not think Maiga is currently all that likely to leave, and I am aware that Stephen Henderson and George McCartney have also been mentioned. Now, I am very firmly in the “we need to sign another striker” club, so I am supportive of West Ham clearing some space on the wage bill in order to do this. The question is, who should go out of the above, and who should stay – or, should they all move on?
Ricardo Vaz Te has scored some good goals for us in the past, none more crucial and important than the winning goal in the play-off final. Unfortunately, he’s failed to find the back of the net often enough in the Premier League. In 2012-2013 he scored a mere three goals in 28 appearances (six as a substitute.) He’s been linked to Cardiff City, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, and I can’t help but think he’d do better at Nottingham Forest or Leeds– the man excels playing in lower leagues, but he just isn’t cut out for top flight football.
Matt Taylor had a very mediocre season last year, only really coming to life in the later stage of the season, making some strong but brief substitute appearances – and at 31 he’s no spring chicken anymore. I don’t think he’s a bad footballer (popular opinion may disagree with me), but the sad truth is he’s just not the best we have to offer and has fallen significantly down the pecking order. He didn’t even feature on the bench against Cardiff.
Modigo Maiga frustrates me, as last season his 4 goals in 19 games (15 of those as a substitute) actually gave him a very high games to goals ratio. I desperately wanted to see him get more game time, but every time he does I feel underwhelmed. He didn’t completely convince me in pre-season, nor against Cardiff. He shows moments of genuine class and talent, and can score some lovely goals, but I can’t tell how much his heart is in it.
Alou Diarra looked sharp in pre-season, and I don’t have many concerns about his ability as a footballer, but I have trouble moving past his previous negative comments towards West Ham. Everyone deserves a second chance, but in a squad full of such strong competition for a place, I’m not overly convinced he’s earned his.
Having said this, of all the players listed, I’d be most interested in holding on to Diarra as I am genuinely curious about what he could bring to the squad (despite hearing he was extremely poor against Cheltenham Town this week). I’d also be interested in hanging on to Maiga, at least until the January window, to give him a shot at regular football. I think Maiga and Diarra offer potential, whereas Taylor and Vaz Te have had many an opportunity to impress already- and most of their impressing was done in the Championship.
What do you think? Would you clear out all of the above, or does anyone deserve to stay and fight for their place? Would you have picked a different set of players to offer around? Let me know below, or tweet me @makingthemarrow