It’s been a big week for all connected with the club, and we still have another London derby to contend with before we look to turn the tide in our Europa League semi final next week in Germany.
Following the disappointment from the first leg, I caught up with The West Ham Way’s ITK ExWHUemployee, to discuss the current goings on.
Ex, I don’t want to dwell on the first leg loss, but one thing I think I do need to talk about with you is the recent noise surrounding Declan Rice, with talk about a contract offer and his future. What can you tell us?
Well firstly I think its no secret that the club want to keep him as we all do, I think we’d all love him to stay at West Ham for the rest of his career. The bottom line is Mark is that Declan is very ambitious and rightly so, and in effect he wants the club to match that ambition.
That’s not just a quick splash of cash but consistently pushing to be a top top club. We are in a good place as a club right now but a good start to show ambition would be win the Europa League and invest well this summer.
Make no mistake though he’s a world class player, he’s just been voted 3rd in the Football Writers’ Awards, behind Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne, that shows where he is sitting in the football world.
He’s a player that was rejected as a youngster by Chelsea and has worked his way up, and I think he knows more than most how fickle football can be and he doesn’t want to miss out on a chance to play at the very top, which is understandable. However, he does love West Ham and its now down to the club to match the ambition that he has.
Well it’s a vital summer ahead then Ex. With that in mind then can you give an update on Keane Lewis-Potter, is he still a top target for the club?
Yes enquiries have been made for him and reports are suggesting that contact with agents etc have been made. He’s definitely someone we are keen on and have scouted, so I am expecting the club to make a move this summer. Although of course a lot depends on where we finish this season and even of course if we win the Europa League. I know the scouts are very busy, even today they are in attendance at the Kilmarnock game.
It was great to see Kurt Zouma return early from injury, as you had reported previously. What can you tell us about Ogbonna and Diop?
Yes it was great to see Zouma return. I had known for some time that he was in line to play against Frankfurt but due to obvious reasons the club wanted it kept quiet.
Ogbonna and Diop are also, like Zouma was, ahead of schedule. All I can say is that both could well feature again this season. Although the manager has played down their chances, especially with Ogbonna considering the injury sustained.
But then it does of course depend on their respective recoveries. But at this stage its certainly looking more positive than it was.
That’s good to hear and fingers are certainly crossed we may see them again this season. Talking of this season Ex, do you think the club are now throwing it all at the Europa and starting to sacrifice the Premier League?
I wouldn’t say sacrifice but I’d say Europa is now the priority of course, which is understandable with a Champions League place as the prize. I think looking at the four games remaining, if we can get 6 more points then I think that should seal top 7, which would mean European football again. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised seeing us rest players for the Arsenal game.
One of those remaining games Ex is Man City, which will be Mark Nobles last at home as a player. What can you tell us about what the club have planned for the occasion and also what Nobles plans are after he retires?
The club are definitely going to make it very special for Noble, there will be Tony Carr in attendance along with other former players. It’ll be a proper occasion and one that will definitely be a sad one too.
I really was hoping that if we did win the Europa that Mark would change his mind and delay it but from what he has said that is not looking likely at all now. It’s strange saying that Mark Noble is set to retire, I remember when he started – I was a young man in my prime! So yeah it’s going be an emotional day for everyone.
After he retires, well nothing has been confirmed but I am sure he’ll be working with the club in some capacity. My guess at this stage is an ambassador role but we’ll see.