By George Overhill

2nd Feb, 2022 | 5:40pm

David Moyes says West Ham made three club-record bids during January transfer window

David Moyes has attempted to defend the club against criticism of the lack of activity in the January transfer window, saying they were “really ambitious”.

The manager and the board have been accused of missing a major opportunity to consolidate the Hammers’ position by failing to bring in any signings despite money being available.

But the Scot claims “it wasn’t for the want of trying, that’s for sure,” and that they made three club-record bids for Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha and Darwin Nunez.

Moyes said, via The Evening Standard: “We were really ambitious in trying to get good players and players who could help us and make a difference, but it just became pretty difficult in the end and we missed out on one or two late on.

“We probably made three record transfer bids from the club in this January window and let’s be fair, January is never really a great time.

“I also believe it’s probably been tougher because we’re looking at a much different level of player now and trying to attract some of the top players throughout Europe.”

He also made a point of standing up for the club’s board, saying: “I have to say there’s been some things said about the board, but the board in this transfer window have been brilliant. They have backed me and tried to support me in all the moves.”

Covering up

The old lines about not wanting to waste money for the sake of it and January being a bad time to find real quality in the market are ones that managers have fallen back on for years.

They of course hold some truth, but in this case it doesn’t hide the fact that neither Moyes nor David Sullivan succeeded in finding the players that the former Manchester United and Everton boss himself wanted.

It was widely reported that he wanted a striker and a central defender, as Michail Antonio has had no back up since Sebastien Haller was sold, and the back line has suffered injuries this season.

Despite chasing Nunez, which Alex Crook reported on talkSPORT yesterday was a “nightmare deal” that was never going to happen, they did not bring in either.

Bids for the Benfica forward, plus Leeds pair Phillips and Raphinha, club-record or not, appear to have had no chance of succeeding so mean very little.

And Moyes’ excuse that it is harder because they are looking for a different level of player now only opens him up to the question of whether he is the right man to operate at the top level.

It is all very well him doing a fantastic job in getting the Irons into the Champions League conversation, but if he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he gets there it is not helpful.

If the report from The Telegraph that the lack of incomings has hastened the departure of star man Declan Rice then the words of mitigation from the boss will seem even thinner.

In other West Ham news, one star player thinks the team has “more than enough” for the rest of the season.