Slaven Bilic has made a bit of a strange decision ahead of the game against Newcastle.
Most managers don’t choose to talk much about what is happening at an opposition club but the West Ham boss has been happy to comment, when it was put to him about Newcastle fans and Rafa Benitez not being happy about the action in the transfer market this summer.
Slaven Bilic pointing out that Newcastle have had a higher net spend than West Ham, so far.
West Ham have spent around £41m and recouped £23m, meaning a net spend of £18m, whilst Newcastle’s figures are around £36m and £13m, meaning a £23m net spend.
Bilic’ comments though don’t really tell the whole truth, because as well as big money deals for Arnautovic (£24m) and Hernandez (£16m), West Ham have also allowed him to bring in players such as Joe Hart on loan and Zabaleta on a free. These last two are exactly the kind of signings Rafa Benitez has been blocked from doing, due to the fact that they predictably come with very high wages. Which of course is also the case with Hernandez and Arnautovic, an unwillingness to pay market level wages, just as big a hindrance at Newcastle as the failure to compete (with Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth, West Brom etc etc) on transfer fees.
Slaven Bilic does acknowledge that as a promoted club Newcastle obviously need to improve their squad more than the 17 clubs already in the top tier.
The West Ham boss also fails to expand the comparable transfer activities of the two clubs to take in the previous 12 months. In that time Rafa Benitez produced a £40m net transfer profit, whilst Slaven Bilic had a net spend of £40m in 2016/17, which would have been £66m if Payet hadn’t forced an exit in January of this year.
Bilic adds ‘Newcastle won the league (Championship) and it was ‘now we are going to rule the world’, or whatever’, whereas Newcastle fans and no doubt Rafa himself, would have happily settled/aimed for mid-table obscurity/respectability.
“They (Newcastle fans/Rafa Benitez) are not happy with the transfers but they spent more money than we have spent in this transfer window, if we are talking about net money.
“Okay, they maybe needed more to improve because they came up from the Championship.
“It is a big club, they were all buzzing.
“Newcastle won the league (Championship) and it was ‘now we are going to rule the world’, or whatever.
“Maybe they tried…I think they tried.
“What I think happened is that they tried but maybe they were unable to get those targets that they wanted. Like we did last year, for example.
“Maybe they were thinking too big and those players, they didn’t want to come.
“However, I don’t feel that they are not an ambitious club, Newcastle, with Rafa Benitez, who basically lifted them up.
“I feel we need someone to boost our team and quality. That’s why we also offloaded some players to get the budget for him, or for another player in that position.
“They are not easy to get but we are doing our best and hopefully we will do it.”
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