The departure of James Tomkins emphasises that no player is indispensable, especially under a dynamic regime like that of Bilic and Co. at West Ham. It's hard to see what Tomkins did wrong last year but never the less he found himself surplus to requirements. As the mainstay of the squad get stuck into their preseason preparations in Seattle, our Euro 2016 heroes have been given special leave to continue their efforts (Payet, Collins) or recover from their exploits (Randolph, Ogbonna). Similarly, Enner Valencia has been busy with the Copa America.
The coverage of the tour is fascinating - with lots of shots of our players embracing the bosom of Auntie Samantha. However, closer examination reveals that the absentees are not all on International duty. There have been lots of stories that Diafra Sakho might not remain at West Ham next year, with Sunderland leading the pack of wannabe suitors. These have been viewed as mere speculation but the Senegalese appears absent from preseason duty when one might expect him to be chomping at the bit to get into pole striking position ahead of the arrival of some high profile striking sensation as promised all Summer by the board.
Let's hope Sakho doesn't depart. Dispensing with the misfiring Emenike and the likely departure of the injury-prone Enner Valencia would surely create adequate space for two new high profile striking recruits. However, no matter who arrives, there can be little doubting that Diafra has a certain 'edge' to his play that unsettles opponents and creates space for Payet and Lanzini. Bilic is a stickler for discipline and no doubt Sakho's much publicised personal issues of last season will not have helped his cause, but he is no Amalfitano!
Last year, we managed our transfers pretty well - with most turning out to be really successful. However, if there was one area where we waited too long to bring in new talent and were thus a little light it was up front. Jelavic was a squad boosting filler that didn't work out and Emenike proved little better. If Saks really is to leave, let's get reinforcements in first this time?