Window into a brighter future

It was Del Boy's favourite expression. "You know it makes sense", when he was trying to knock out something dodgy from the back of a van. Just for a change, a West Ham transfer window also made sense.

We have just seen the close of what is universally acclaimed as West Ham's best transfer window in ages and ages. And the reason, I believe, is that it made sense, you could see the policy, you could understand the plan.

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Decisive decisions have been made. Players released who were not good enough, paid too much who were clogging up the system, halting progress. Over 20 have now left the pay roll, too old, too injury prone, too expensive. They have been released, freed, sold or loaned out.

In their place has come a new younger option. One of the main criticisms of previous windows is that we sign players too old, injury prone, and with no resalable value. There are reasons for that, mainly we didn't have the money to compete or that targets did not want to step out of the European comfort zone. And then, of course,there was the occasional Sullivan punt.

This summer it has been different. None of our four main signings are over 25. One, Sebastien Haller, is a prized capture from the competitive Bundesliga and, at ?45million, our new record signing.

In days gone by, being linked with a player so highly rated would have been met with a cynical reaction from fans. No chance. But he is here, looking every bit a quality front man with an eye for goal and the ability to create chances for colleagues. He most certainly has resale value.

One of the key reasons we ended last summer with a massive deficit in transfer dealings is that we could not move on the deadwood or we were lumbered with players on big money.

Good examples of a different approach is that Everton have spent big but pulled in ?50million in sales. Manchester City have spent ?127million on three players but have also pulled in ?50million in departures. Last summer we banked ?12million and spent around ?90million. That is unsustainable.

The average age of our four top buys is 22. Pablo Fornals, already a Spanish international and star man in Spain's under 21 European title win is a real coup. Varied European experts are amazed he is with us, he's 23. First view is that he is quick, industrious and can unlock defences.

There were times during the window that it looked as if we were being priced out of deal after deal. Then the Maxi Gomez saga collapsed around us. There were some recriminations there, I hear surrounding Director of football Mario Husillos. But he has surely come up trumps overall.

But out of the ashes of that deal, six months in the making, we ended up signing Haller. That was very much down to David Sullivan who got stuck into that deal, and whereas he'd seemed unwilling to spend the full fee for Gomez up front, he went better than that and splashed ?45million on the Frenchman.

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Sullivan may well have said that he was going to take a back seat in the transfer market. He may have left the selection of targets to Manuel Pellegrini and Husillos - but when it gets to the sharp end and the money bit, our Dave is right in the front calling the shots, I sense.

And then when it was being suggested that Pellegrini had done his money, as they say, the Board have given the go ahead for two more ambitious signings. Budgets have had to be massaged a bit, more money found, but the manager got what he wanted.

First the 18-year-old Goncalo Cardoso, a ?2.7million buy from Porto's second club Boavista. We are being told he is primed for the senior squad not the Under 23s. His progress will be worth watching, because Pellegrini has a reputation for making decisions on players and sticking by them.

Finally we got Swiss international Albian Ajeti over the line in double quick time. He's 22, a consistent scorer in the Swiss League and cost ?8miliion plus the obligatory add ons.

With Andy Carroll - you can't make it up, can you, with him back at Newcastle - Lucas Perez, Marko Arnautovic and Jordan Hugill, on loan, all gone now, there had to be another back-up striker. Again, it's a big step up but there is clearly resale value in both Cardoso and Ajeti too.

Then there's the two new 'keepers. Roberto is a veteran, while we all know a bit about David Martin. It's about time we were charitable about Roberto; we have only seen him in patches in warm-up games so it's a bit harsh to start giving him grief already.

The same goes for Martin, just because he threw one in on TV for Millwall in the Cup does not make him anything less than a competent goalkeeper who has been around big clubs, in particular Liverpool, and will be a solid stand-in when needed.

The change of approach from the Board was also clear in what many feel is the best bit of business of the window - hat being not selling Declan Rice and Issa Diop. In years gone by we would not have resisted approaches from Manchester United.

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Rice, I hear, actually turned down a move to Old Trafford while Diop looked as if he would be on his way. But the club did not buckle under the pressure of big offers and they are both still here.

There does not seem much point in encouraging Pellegrini to build something for the future and then sell two of his best young prospects.

There was sense, too, in the decisions to send certain players out on loan. Josh Cullen has gone back to Charlton on loan, when many felt he would get a squad place this time around. And we all like to see one of our own make the grade.

Let's see how he does in a full season in the Championship. I fear he may not be quite good enough for the Premier League, and at 23 time is running out on him. I always felt he could eventually take over Mark Noble's role -they are even represented by the same agent - but whether that happens now is very much up to the player.

Grady Diangana, on loan at West Brom, can also benefit from a tough season in the Championship, and he's better there than struggling for game time in the Premier League. Let's hope he comes back next summer to stake his claim, stronger and more experienced.

Pellegrini is not slow in giving youth a chance, in marked contrast to the likes of Big Sam. He has seen something in Ben Johnson that has given him the option of using the youngster as cover at right and left back.

These are the problem areas in the eyes of many fans. But again the manager has made a powerful decision in giving Arthur Masuaku a new long term contract, when many felt he - as well as Aaron Cresswell - could be replaced. You sense that Pellegrini has had to go with what he has in these positions to free-up money to strengthen elsewhere. Let's hope he's right.

All in all this is a squad now with promise, potential and some class. If Jack Wilshere can stay fit, then we have a chance. The board were right here too, with Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andry Yarmolenko frankly looking like three new signings, so little did they contribute last term. They are right to want some return for the initial investment.

So this, I believe, is the best window we have had in years. We have the best squad in years and the best attacking options. Pellegrini has got what he wanted, apart maybe from a defensive midfielder, and the board have gone with their man, backed his judgement, and at times held their nerve.
Credit where credit is due, all round. Oh, and Marko who?

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