West Ham: 29-year-old left-back targeted; Bilic's assessment; fans labelled as "customers"
Slaven Bilic is coming under increasing pressure as results continue to disappoint Hammers fans and club bosses alike, with a last gasp victory at home to ten man Bournemouth in August the only points on the board for the club with six games played. After Sunday’s woeful defeat to Southampton, the Croatian told the press:
We deserved to be defeated. One by one the players give everything but it’s not enough. It’s hard to change it. The team is down. We have good weeks of training but when the game comes it’s simply not good enough. We have to work hard but it’s not happening. We are in a really bad spell, we are a team that is expecting something to happen by default. We don’t have the confidence and it’s a chain reaction. It’s not a magic wand thing, all you can do is stick together and work hard.
Much of the club’s problems have lied in their defensive frailty in the opening weeks of the campaign, something that the former defender will be desperate to correct as he tries to push his side back up the table after an embarrassing start to the campaign, which has also seen them knocked out of the Europa League in the qualifying stage and only just edge past Accrington Stanley thanks to an injury time free-kick from Dimitri Payet.
As if things weren’t bad enough, fans were furious this weekend as a new guide for stewards was leaked which provides guidelines for security staff inside the London Stadium, including the use of the word “customer” to describe fans. It has led to even further tensions between fans and club bosses, who have been accused of trying to commercialise the club to an extent that the Hammers are losing their soul as a traditional East End club and pillar of the community.
Stewards are also advised to eject any fans who refuse to remain seated throughout the game, which has angered many of the club’s more vocal supporters given the lack of planning which has meant that families are mixed in areas of more vocal supporters who want to stand to sing and chant and show their support for the team.
That is, though, on the assumption that they have much to sing about. Given the defensive problems on show, there hasn’t been much. The Express claim that the club has been in touch with Guinean international Kevin Constant as the left-back considers a move to the Premier League.
With Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell both out injured, the free agent may be able to provide some much needed short term cover after Alvaro Arbeloa looked uncomfortable in a slightly new position to what he is used to.
The 29-year-old has good pedigree, having spent time in France, Italy and Turkey, most notably with AC Milan, but was released in August after failing to secure an extension to a six-month deal with Bologna in Serie A, where he made just seven appearances.
Constant is far from high quality, but he would provide cheap experience and cover with the two first choice left-backs out injured for several weeks.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Peter Goodair.