West Ham United stun journalist as Amadou Onana move collapse destroys months of planning
West Ham had been working on a deal for Amadou Onana for five months before seeing the move collapse at the last, according to Alan Nixon.
A major breakthrough was reached earlier this week (2 August) when the Hammers finally agreed a fee with Lille for the 20-year-old midfield sensation.
While being willing to pay a package of €40million to sign the Belgian the club apparently balked at his wage demands of over £100,000-a-week, and he is now on the brink of signing for Everton instead, leaving Sun reporter Nixon “stunned”.
Writing on his personal Twitter account on Friday morning (5 August) he replied to various comments from Hammers fans on the matter.
To one he wrote: “I’m amazed they let this slip. Been on it for FIVE months.”
To another he said: “Stunned about this one … for so many reasons …”
And perhaps most concerning of all for West Ham fans he added to a third: “This is/was a huge deal and a major part of your jigsaw.”
The news that Onana had cut short talks with the Irons and wanted to instead go to the Toffees was a blow in itself, and a big surprise.
But the context added by Nixon makes it seem all the more damaging, and raises questions as to why the club were prepared to work so hard towards it if they weren’t ready to ensure it got done.
Despite the apparent suggestion that he had snubbed the Hammers because their offer wasn’t “conducive to player development” [Sacha Tavolieri], it appears that it was indeed money that was the deciding factor [Times].
The player’s status as a rising star, having gone from Bundesliga 2, to Ligue 1 and the Belgian national team inside his first two seasons of senior football, suggested it was always going to be an expensive deal.
He had years left on his Lille contract so the fee agreed with the French club actually looked to be on the modest side, and given the time the club apparently put into the chase seems like strong work in negotiations.
They appear to have followed up that victory by letting it all go to waste in refusing the player’s wage demands, which while high don’t sound wild.
If Everton can afford them in their current predicament then it feels like the Hammers must have been able to do so too.
And if Nixon is right when he says that the midfield man was a major part of the club’s plans, which have otherwise come together quite impressively over the summer, and they stuck with it this long, it seems all the more confusing as to why the negotiations with the player were such a mess.
Perhaps the club end up being proven right in the long term, but it currently looks like a disappointing missed opportunity.