The ones that got away: Part 1

Since 1997, when KUMB first appeared online, West Ham United have been linked with literally hundreds - nay, thousands - of players.

So in a new series, join KUMB as we take a look back at some of those "highly rated youngsters" and "established stars" to see just how their careers panned out - and whether they can truly be regarded as "the one that got away".


Lorenzo Amoruso (2000)

Embed from Getty Images


Harry Redknapp was the managerial incumbent at the time West Ham were linked with a move for the then Glasgow Rangers defender.

Yet given a three-way choice of Amoruso, Manchester United's Henning Berg and Christian Dailly, West Ham - flush with cash from the sale of Rio Ferdinand - plumped to sign the latter from Blackburn Rovers in a ?1.7million deal after chairman Terry Brown pulled the plug on the deal over the player's excessive wage demands.

Dailly was to spend the next six season at West Ham, going on to become club captain. But what of the former Italian Under 21 international?

Having been overlooked by West Ham, Amoruso failed to land a big money move at the turn of the century and went on to spend the next three seasons at Ibrox, making a total of 149 appearances for and winning nine trophies with the Glasgow club.

Ironically perhaps, he was to join Blackburn Rovers in July 2003 in a deal worth ?1.4million to a skint Rangers, just shy of the figure West Ham paid Rovers to bring Dailly south.

The move initially looked a good one for Blackburn as Amoruso scored within 17 minutes of his debut. However two months later he sustained a knee injury that kept him sidelined for much of the 2003/04 season.

Despite making a comeback towards the end of that season he suffered a series of injuries that meant he was to make a total of just 18 appearances for Rovers before being released on a free transfer in 2006.

A brief spell in the San Marino with part timers Cosmos followed before he hung up his boots for good, having failed to recapture the form he enjoyed prior to being linked with a move to West Ham.

Got Away Rating: 3/10 - Despite initial reservations, Dailly proved to be the better buy


Adriano (2007)

Embed from Getty Images


Shortly before the summer 2007 transfer deadline West Ham were reported (by Sky Sports and others) to have bid in the region of ?15million for Inter's Brazilian striker Adriano.

25 at the time, the Rio de Janeiro-born goalscorer was one of Europe's hottest properties - and West Ham, under the Icelandic ownership of Magnusson and Gudmundsson, were throwing cash around like confetti.

Seeking a partner for Craig Bellamy, who had been brought in earlier that summer, West Ham's offer had initially been a loan deal. After that was rejected the Board offered a straight cash deal, before that too was snubbed.

The striker remained at Inter - for whom he scored 47 goals in 115 appearances in both Serie A and the Champions League - before being given special dispensation to join Sao Paolo on loan.

He scored 11 goals in 21 appearances whilst at the Estadio do Morumbi but never returned to Milan, his contract being annulled after he refused to return to Europe.

Still in Brazil, Adriano enjoyed a productive 2009/10 season with Flamengo for whom he scored 19 goals in 32 starts. Yet a decision to return to Italy proved to be his undoing, and after just a handful of starts for Roma he was released on a free - just seven months into a three-year contract.

Having returned to his home country he featured for Corinthians (one goal in four games) but shortly after an enforced six-month break, the result of an achilles injury, he was again released on a free transfer.

The briefest of spells with Atletico Paranaense (2014) and Miami United (2016) followed before he eventually opted to retire, having never managed to recapture the kind of form that led his to be linked with a move to the Premier League some years before.

Got Away Rating: 6/10 - 27 goals in 48 games for Brazil, but he'd played his best football before being linked with West Ham


Josip Drmic (2014)

Embed from Getty Images


Sam Allardyce admitted that he had been to watch the Swiss striker in action for Nurnberg when quizzed about the link back in April 2014.

Said to be available for just ?5m due to a contractual release clause and just 21 at the time, Srmic has broken through the ranks at Zurich - scoring a total of 44 goals in 88 games for the first and second XIs - before moving to the Bundesliga.

In the end West Ham chose instead to sign the even cheaper (read free) Mauro Zarate from Velez Sarsfield, whilst Drmic stayed in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, where he stayed for a year (before being replaced by a certain Javier Hernandez).

Borussia Monchengladbach became Drmic's third German club in three years when he moved to Borussia-Park for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal in 2015. But his time there was short lived and he spent a spell on loan with Hamburg before being relegated to Gladbach's reserves.

With his four year contract having ran its course, Drmic was saved from Borussia's stiffs by newly-promoted Norwich City in June 2019 for whom he has made six appearances since.

He has also appeared 34 times for Switzerland, where he has occasionally lined-up alongside West Ham's recent arrival Albian Ajeti.

Got Away Rating: 3/10 - hasn't pulled up any trees since being monitored by Allardyce and co.

* Like to share your thoughts on this article? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

More Opinion