When contract talks between player and club get sour, it can be extremely difficult to bring the situation back from the brink and to resolve it in a productive manner.
That is the task now facing West Ham United in regards to young midfielder Conor Coventry. Reliable Hammers news source Claret & Hugh reported last month that discussions between the club and the youngster have stalled due to his wage demands.
Former West Ham academy chief Terry Westley, though, has urged the Irons to renew the talks: “In situations like this it starts getting suggested that the player is being greedy and all the rest of it,” he told Claret & Hugh. “But I know the boy well and he’s a very good player whom the club would do well to hang onto. Both he and his family are great people and he is no way being difficult.”
This is interesting stuff from Westley, because he obviously knows the boy well. He’s spot on, too, because West Ham would be foolish to let a terrific young prospect like Coventry fly the nest.
The 19-year-old’s contract is up at the end of the season, yet talks have been shelved after going nowhere in recent months. In fact, they aren’t expected to resume until nearer the campaign’s end.
But Coventry could be gone by then. He’s allowed to talk to foreign clubs and agree to move to them from January onwards, and you can bet there will be at least a few German clubs sniffing around the midfielder.
Yet West Ham are willing to take that risk. That feels like a mistake. Coventry is, by all accounts, one of the brightest prospects within the club’s academy. To let him leave for nothing would be tantamount to madness.
No, Westley is right. The Hammers simply must resume the contract talks and ensure they come to a fair and balanced agreement with a man who could be the future alongside Declan Rice in midfield.