West Ham after Obiang and Gradel despite manager vacancy

Posted on Jun 1 2015 - 8:22am by Tom Burford

West Ham’s owners may still be looking for their ‘big name’ manager, but this doesn’t seem to have halted their recruitment drive at Upton Park as both Max Gradel and Pedro Obiang are linked to the club.

Former Charlton keeper Darren Randolph joined earlier in the week on a free transfer from Birmingham City to replace Jussi Jaaskelainen as likely understudy to Spanish stopper Adrian.

And, now they’re looking to bolster their midfield, with Alex Song saying a public goodbye to the supporters on the club’s website earlier in the week, a like for like replacement would be wise, and they have been heavily linked with Sampdoria’s Pedro Obiang.

Obiang has had a super season in Serie A, combining physicality with flair when the ball’s at his feet. He’ll be deployed as a central defensive midfielder, and alongside Cheikou Kouyate West Ham will have an ‘Allardyce like’ strong defensive midfield partnership.

The Hammers have been linked with Obiang throughout the second half of the season, and will need to pay something in the region of £6m to acquire his services.

They’re also interested in St Etienne attacking midfielder Max Gradel, touted as a wonderkid when progressing through Leicester City’s youth system, Gradel didn’t quite hit the heights predicted for him in England.

But a move to France seems to have reignited his career. He’s scored 17 goals in 31 league games in Ligue 1 this term and is beginning to attract interest once again. West Ham nearly signed him in January 2014 when trying to stay in the Premier League.

Gradel has also been linked with newly promoted AFC Bournemouth, the team he played 34 games for in a loan spell from Leicester in 2007/2008, scoring nine goals.

Whoever takes over at Upton Park might have something to say about players being signed without their say so, but West Ham need to act quickly. Their season starts in early July in the 1st qualifying round of the Europa League.

These would be two astute signings for the Hammers, who need a big recruitment drive to cope with the heavy schedule they face on their European tour.

Writer’s View: West Ham need a big squad this year and a replacement for Alex Song is key. Obiang is a good player and has shown some signs that he’ll be a success at this level. I don’t this you can have too many attacking options, and Gradel is certainly that. West Ham’s goals dried up in the second half of the season, and apart from Nene (who’s returned to France) they didn’t have any options to turn to, to try something different.