David Moyes gave his side of the story after West Ham were linked with a late double raid on Leeds United, though remained coy on signing Jesse Lingard in the summer.
The January transfer window promised much, but ultimately West Ham remained dormant as the chance to strengthen their top four push came and went. The Hammers had been linked with all manner of deals throughout the month, most notably at centre-half.
However, when deadline day rolled around, it was ambitious additions in midfield and the final third that made the headlines.
West Ham were linked with a late double raid on Leeds United for Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips. Elsewhere, Benfica’s Darwin Nunez was targeted as they sought to ease the burden on Michail Antonio up front.
Moyes would ultimately be left empty-handed, though insisted it should not come as a surprise.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of their FA Cup clash with sixth tier Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, Moyes said (via Football London): “There have been nine clubs in this January window who did not bring players in so it should not be that big a surprise.
“We did talk about it but for some reason it has been a much more difficult January window than others. I have to say we wanted to add to the squad if we could do. We targeted players who we thought could help us, but unfortunately we could not quite get them over the line.”
When asked if the Hammers came close to signing any players, Moyes insisted they did.
“We certainly did [get close to deals] but for different reasons it didn’t quite happen,” added the Scot.
Moyes was then asked directly about the Phillips, Raphinha and Nunez moves. Though all three failed, Moyes left the door ajar when asked if they could be reignited in the summer.
The big deals take time – Moyes
Moyes said: “I’d never tell you my targets because that would be wrong even the names you are mentioning I could not guarantee if you were correct or not.
“But what I do want to do is be ambitious here at West Ham. I want to bring in good players and I want to add to what I think is a really good squad, we are building on it. Sometimes, getting things you actually want, you have to wait a little bit longer.
“We were not able to get it this January window. But I think it was quite obvious to most clubs, as I said I think it was nine clubs who didn’t do any business in January, so it should be no surprise to a lot of people that we were one but we did try very hard I have to say.”
On his side taking a risk by not adding backup to Antonio, Moyes was defiant.
“There was no intention of taking any risk,” he added. “I wouldn’t use the word risk because we have other people who can play there.
“We were always trying to add to what we thought we could do. It would hard to get better than Jarrod if we’re talking about another striker.
“I didn’t just want backup, I wanted real competition. I could have easily gone out and bought backup, easily. We wanted people who were actually going to take other people’s jerseys and challenge them.”
West Ham board to blame?
There were murmurings of discontent among the West Ham faithful at another missed opportunity.
However, Moyes refused to point the finger of blame at the board. Instead, he insisted the club’s hierarchy were “terrific” throughout the entire window.
“I can only tell you the board were terrific through the January window and they have been since I have been here,” added the Scot.
“They have supported us greatly and made funds available and we tried to use the money as best we could but we just could not get a couple of players I really liked so I would rather save the money than waste it.”
West Ham are expected to be a contender to land free-agent-to-be Jesse Lingard in the summer. The 29-year-old was simply sensational in his loan spell with the Hammers last season.
Moyes was asked directly if West Ham will push for Lingard in the summer, but Moyes kept his cards close to his chest.
“I don’t know, we will see,” concluded Moyes.