Wigan hijack West Ham’s deal for Iván Ramis
West Ham appeared to have boosted their defensive options with the signing of Real Mallorca defender Iván Ramis just days ago.
The Spanish side confirmed that a deal had been agreed and gave permission for Ramis to undergo a medical at Upton Park.
However, Wigan acted quickly to hijack the deal and the 27-year-old has now opted to move to the north-west instead.
In an interview with ESPN, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan revealed that manager Roberto Martínez helped convince his compatriot Ramis to join him at the DW Stadium.
“It’s down to the influence of Roberto,” he said.
“The player doesn’t speak English and didn’t want to go to West Ham, who had already agreed a deal.
“But Roberto asked me to go out to Mallorca where I met their chairman, and with the club in receivership, they accepted my offer and then I went to see the player.”
It means that James Tomkins, James Collins and Winston Reid are the only senior central defenders at the club and it appears to be a significant blow in Sam Allardyce’s attempts to build a side capable of staying in the Premier League.
Aston Villa defender Collins was brought back to the club he played for between 2005 and 2009 just days earlier in a £2.5million deal, but the collapse of this Ramis deal will leave Allardyce fuming.
Premier League clubs need at least four capable centre-backs to cope with the injury problems that may occur during a season and Allardyce – a seasoned Premier League manager – will know this as much as anyone.
Although Whelan attributes the transfer coup to Martínez and his Spanish connections, West Ham may have taken their eye off the ball as they got distracted by the Andy Carroll saga.
The Hammers agreed a £2million loan deal for the much-maligned Liverpool striker, but Carroll is rumoured to have no interest in taking a step down to gain more game time at West Ham.
With the club spending the last three weeks trying to tempt the former Newcastle forward to move to east London, it is likely that they failed to give other deals the attention they deserve.
It means that West Ham are short of cover at centre-back and are still looking to add a striker with proven Premier League experience to their squad.
Expect Big Sam to arrest these shortcomings in the near future though, with a shortlist of three potential forwards already drawn up and a move for Portsmouth defender Tal Ben Haim on the cards.
Laurence Taylor, football correspondent