Now onto the main point of my article, the other day, the man who fired us back into the Premier League, Ricardo Vaz Te has handed in a transfer request. Now this to me doesn't really bother me, I felt last season, he came across as lazy at times and I don't think he is quite ready for the top flight of English football. What has got me interested though, is his statement that has been flying around since he has done this. For those of you who haven't read it, you can see this below:
"In my 10 years as a professional footballer I have never submitted a transfer request nor issued a statement. However, I am frustrated at West Ham.
Last season I was asked to change positions for the benefit of the team even though I had just scored 24 goals.The main objective was to finish in the top 10 in the Premier League and I followed my instructions to the best of my ability as the club always comes first.
As a result even though I was injured for three months no other player made more assists than me and no other winger scored more goals.
In addition, since I joined this football club no other player has scored more goals than me in all official competitions to date.
Statistics are evident to all, despite this it has been made obvious to myself and my representatives that I am not in the manager’s plans.
Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I submit a transfer request and look to join a club where my approach to the game will be appreciated."
The reason I found this interesting is because the more I look at it the more I feel he actually makes a very good point. Don't get me wrong, out of the players I have seen leave West Ham since Big Sam's arrival, I don't think he has really made a massive mistake in letting any of them go, all for various reasons, either they aren't up to scratch, they don't suit his style or they don't want to be there. Vaz Te was one of the top goal scorers in the Championship that season, we then got promoted thanks to his goal and then for the forthcoming season, he was pushed into a wide role on the right, a completely new position to him, he had played central and he had also played on the left a lot for Barnsley, but he was given the freedom to cut inside and fire at will, which is what he basically did when he joined us too. He did as Sam asked and then it seems that we have signed players to push him down the pecking order, I would say he is now third choice on the right wing behind Downing and Joe Cole (and rightly so), while he is also probably third choice centre forward behind Carroll and Maiga (again I feel this is probably right, although I do wonder if Vaz Te knuckled down in a central role, he could have potentially been challenging Maiga as he is tall and potentially strong when he wants to be), but despite him doing what was asked of him, we just carried on with our business to improve. Now I'm not pretending I know what goes on behind closed doors, but imagine Vaz Te had constantly been asking to play up front, then he gets shoved out on the right, then the following season you are cast to the bench or completely out of the starting 11. As a player I imagine that is going to hurt a lot and I do wonder if he was ever told about it or whether he was just cast to one side. I personally feel there's lots of players who must have felt in similar situations, Baldock and Maynard spring to mind, I even recall Baldock saying he was willing to try to learn to play out wide to improve his chances, but still come when we were promoted, he was shown the door (although again I feel Sam was right with this as I don't think he is ready for the Premiership, but I will be watching Maynard closely at Cardiff, as I really felt he had potential to be a very good striker and I was a little bit gutted when he left to Cardiff but this is just my personal opinion). On top of this it makes me wonder how someone like Tomkins must feel too, he was part of a strong partnership with Reid in the Championship and even played right back and defensive midfield now and then when asked, although I did feel this really made Tomkins look poor as you could see he wasn't in a comfortable position there, but then when we came up he was dropped to the subs bench for 2 major reasons, the arrival of James Collins and also the Olympics that Tomkins decided to compete in to represent his country, leaving him out of a fair few pre-season matches. I do wonder had he not gone, could he be part of that partnership or would he still have been dropped for Collins? It is hard to say. I personally would like to see Tomkins partner Reid again a few times, just to see if they could get that strong partnership back as I feel if they could, then we could have a perfect centre back pairing for a long time. At the moment though I hope JT bides his time and grabs any chances he gets with both hands, although I could see him being a potential player to hand in a transfer request to as he seems to be seeing his first team chances slowly dwindling away from him.
My main views on this whole thing and my main point of this article is, does Sam know really how to treat players when he feels they aren't up to scratch, rather than leave, most seem to come out and say something, take Diarra last year and Vaz Te as major parts of this, they haven't hesitated in coming out and slamming him for the way they were treated. On top of this, I also feel that Sam doesn't give players a chance even if they may have earned it on the pitch, although one thing we don't see is the team in training and that could be all Sam needs to really spot a players potential. My only worry about all of this, is if these players aren't afraid to come out about it, what could happen if this happened with more players, especially while they are at the club still, could this lead to unwanted problems in and around the squad, possible distractions, basically things I wouldn't want to see happen. So I hope it's just me looking way too much into this, although, the thought does cross my mind now and then. I would really love to hear other views on this, so if you do have some, feel free to comment away as I would be intrigued to see what others think, even if they are just saying I'm far too paranoid!
Please also take note, I am not slamming Sam in anyway in this article, I think the guy has been correct on most players he has brought in and let go, he is doing a fantastic job and we are clearly a much stronger side than we ever have been, defensively especially.