So here is the low down on the non-transfer of Iheanacho, from what I know and unfortunately it is quite rushed. I am often accused of being a board mouth piece, often by those that spend most their days moaning about the board. This information comes from other sources and is not intended to be either in favour of the board or Bilic it is merely what we have been told by people within the club.
We have a recruitment team. This is headed by Slaven Bilic but David Sullivan Snr and Tony Henry are very much involved in the process alongside a number of scouts. Usually Bilic identifies the positions that he would like and the others bring targets to him alongside his own recommendations. There have been many players who have clearly been “Bilic players” (Tore/Zaza/Fonte/Snodgrass) and others who have been clearly “board signings” (Calleri/Obiang/Masuaku/Randolph). Whilst the two usually work very well together there have been some disagreements on players with Hogan being the most recent one before now. The deal was pretty much set up for the Brentford forward to come but Slaven decided he didn’t think he was good enough and so the player wasn’t signed (rightly so in my opinion).
It appears a similar situation has happened with Iheanacho. There was initial interest from Bilic and especially the board in the Manchester City forward. Bilic was keen and wanted to explore the deal further and then it emerged there was a buy back clause and a high asking price. This took a while to negotiate especially given the scenario where there was a dispute between his agents on his ownership. As the deal dragged on it appeared that Bilic had started to move on to other targets. He had some concerns that he was too young and that his ability was made better by playing with all the top quality players who were around him therefore it appears that the player will join Leicester City, which in turn could bring our attention to a couple of their forwards. Bilic apparently chose not to move for the player and had a change of heart. Jack Sullivan tweeted a sad face earlier and I think this is in response to the deal not happening as I know the board were quite keen on the player.
The bottom line here is there seems to be a problem with our transfer policies at the moment. The same story happened with Hogan and there are stories of this happening in the past. We either need to trust Bilic’s choice of players and go all out for them and not bother with players he isn’t interested in or just go out and sign players regardless of his opinion (I would favour the first option at this point) but the half way stuff seems that we are missing out on good options and making our deals take longer. It also makes our transfer policy appear to be scattergun rather than well planned. I am sure it isn’t this but we cannot get away from the fact that this is a massive window for the board and Bilic and we have to get it right.
It appears Bilic has other targets in mind and these are the players that I haven’t revealed yet. I have chosen to keep those names quiet, this was covered on the radio show as they are not in the public domain. Andre Gray is also a player who Bilic apparently admires. Both Bilic and the board have stressed they are confident at least two quality forwards will join us eventually and I hope that this turns out to be true.
Valenica should complete his move to Mexico tomorrow and Andy Carroll is likely to miss the start of the season through injury and the club do not believe Sakho will stay fit for long. Giroud appears to be a forward who everyone in the club wants but this deal is now looking unlikely although not completely dead. We have resumed negotiations and hope to persuade him but he appears, at this point, to be favouring other options. The Lukaku transfer to Manchester United rather than to Chelsea makes the Basthuayi transfer less likely at this point too. Hernandez is asking for high wages and we face a lot of competition. Our forward situation needs immediate addressing and I can understand fan’s fears.
In other news Reece Burke will be joining Bolton. Declan Rice and Josh Cullen have had offers come in for them but it appears they may stay until at least January (although a loan may happen then) and be given a chance to play in the league cup and be in and around the first team unless they chose otherwise. Birmingham, Charlton and Bradford have looked at Rice and similar clubs including Bolton had looked at Cullen. Youngster Alex Pike has interest from Peterborough and Stevenage. We have also confirmed the signing of a former Ajax academy winger who will be announced soon.
For all my other news and opinions please listen to the radio show. I covered many of the transfers in there and whilst a couple have already changed there is some further detail in there.