Moyes suffered transfer howler over £26m “machine”

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Declan Rice’s transfer situation inevitably dictated the discourse surrounding West Ham United’s transfer window, and despite winning the Europa Conference League in June, efforts to retain his services were futile.

David Moyes took the Hammers to newfound heights with the continental cup triumph, but the efforts in the league were far from promising, with poor form throughout the season resulting in a scramble to escape the threat of relegation throughout – but then they did just that in the closing weeks of the Premier League campaign.

However, with a third successive European campaign (and a return to the Europa League) now just weeks away, West Ham are poised for further excitement under their Scottish manager’s stewardship, fortified by astute work on the transfer front.

West Ham summer signings

Transfer fee

Mohammed Kudus


Edson Alvarez


James Ward-Prowse


Konstantinos Mavropanos


Sean Moore


All fees sourced via Sky Sports.

Moyes and co spread the £105m fee secured for Rice’s sale across the squad, suffusing the arriving quality throughout, and while this looks to have paid off in the term’s embryonic stage – with three wins and a draw to start the 2023/24 season – the Hammers did not sign a new centre-forward, despite speculation throughout the summer market.

How much did West Ham pay for Danny Ings?

Ultimately refraining from forging ahead for a new marksman was perhaps understandable, given the necessity to recraft the midfield and bolster the backline, especially given the Prem-proven options at Moyes’ disposal.

Michail Antonio, now aged 33, has been a stalwart for the east London club since joining for around £7m, but is approaching the twilight phase of his career and will need a successor sooner rather than later.

Danny Ings was also added to the ranks only last January, signing from divisional rivals Aston Villa in a £15m transfer, with Moyes acknowledging the importance of the signing and saying he “will add great competition for places in the attacking third”.

Yet, after scoring only two goals from 17 top-flight displays after joining the London Stadium ranks as the outfit battled for form and fluidity, it’s perhaps surprising that a new forward was not acquired.

Ings has been a prolific marksman throughout his career, notably scoring 46 goals and supplying ten assists from just 100 matches for Southampton, where he was praised for his aptitude as a “goal machine” by writer Simon Peach.


This season, he has been a substitute for three of the four league matches at the start of West Ham’s season, unused in the other, but after playing a total of just 27 minutes it seems that Moyes does not view him as the man to lead the line.

West Ham need a young, exciting striker befitting of their meteoric rise over the past several years, and while several efforts were made for the likes of prolific talent Folarin Balogun, United ended up empty-handed.

Were West Ham interested in signing Folarin Balogun?

Just days before the 2023/24 Premier League campaign kicked off, the Independent reported that Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun was attracting the attention of London rivals West Ham after impressing out on loan with French side Reims last term.

The Hammers were rivalling European teams such as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Monaco for his signature, with the Irons hierarchy impressed by his exploits over the past few seasons.

Ultimately, a transfer didn’t materialise, and the USMNT international completed an initial €30m (£26m) move to Monaco, which could rise to 40m (£34m) inclusive of add-ons.

In hindsight, the Hammers might look back at the transfer failure as something of a blunder, especially given the club’s good start to the season and an expectation to wade deep into the later stage of the Europa League.

Still only 22, Balogun boasts the range of skills to flourish on the major stage, with Arsenal’s official website describing him as ‘fast, intelligent and a natural-born finisher’.

How good is Folarin Balogun?

Considering these talents, Balogun could have been the perfect counterweight to a hulking strike partner such as Antonio, who has been hailed as “strong” by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Moyes’ preferred style utilises solid defensive work and swift counter-attacking transitions, sometimes opting for two contrasting centre-forwards to blend styles, which would have worked to a tee with Balogun added to the mix.

Last season, in Ligue 1, the 5 foot 10 ace plundered 21 goals and three assists from 37 outings, heralded as a “scoring machine” by FOX News’ Garland Gillen.


The two-cap international also ranks among the top 7% of forwards across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for total shots taken and the top 17% for touches in the attacking box per 90, as per FBref, emphasising the level of energy and robustness that the Hammers would have added to the fold.

With all this being said, there is not exactly cause for panic at West Ham, with a glinted slice of silverware added to the cabinet, a third successive foray into European competition and a cohesive and exciting outfit brimming with new levels of overall quality.

It just feels like a striker of Balogun’s ilk would have been the icing on the cake for this burgeoning squad.

Ings has enjoyed his portion of prolific success in the past, and it’s important to note that amid the upheaval of switching clubs at last season’s midpoint, he still scored eight league goals and supplied two assists from just 15 starting appearances, but the preliminary evidence suggests that the 31-year-old has not been entrusted with a starring role this season.

Only time will tell if West Ham will come to rue the decision to make do with the current striking options, but based on his exploits in the budding stage of his senior career, Balogun – once described as “incredible” by Gunners manager Mikel Arteta – could have been the devastating focal frontman to lead the line for years to come.

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