Friday, July 6, 2007

Craig Bellamy Ready to Join West Ham

After spending just one year at Liverpool after joining the Reds from Blackburn, 27-year old Welsh striker and captain Craig Bellamy is set to play in East London next year for the Hammers. The move clearly indicates that West Ham are prepared to face life in the Premiership without last season's savior, Carlos Tevez, who is rumored to join Manchester United. West Ham had no choice but to be proactive in finding a capable replacement for the Argentine and with many big-name strikers already transferred and under contract, signing Bellamy is a solid move for the Hammers. He's agreed to personal terms, with a four-year, $18 million US contract (70,000 pounds/week) already confirmed, but Liverpool and West Ham now have to agree on a transfer fee or the possible swap involving West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun.

Bellamy was really never in favor with Rafael Benitez at Liverpool (for some reason Peter Crouch plays nearly every game though??) but can be a dependable goal-scorer when given the chance. He scored 13 goals for Blackburn in 27 English Premier League games in 2005-2006 and 7 in 12 Scottish Premier League games when he was on loan with Celtic in 2005. The knock on Bellamy, and it is a rather large one, is that he wears out his welcome very quickly. Controversy has followed him wherever he's gone recently, from his feud with Newcastle United to attacking Liverpool teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club while the team was training in Portugal.

West Ham are in desperate need of a number 1 striker with Marlon Harewood and Carlos Tevez on their way out. They have Bobby Zamora but realistically, he's not much better than a second option and the same can be said, at best, about Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole.

For Fox Soccer's article concerning the transfer, see

Updated Tuesday, July 10: West Ham and Liverpool reached an agreement on the transfer fee to sign Bellamy. The Hammers will pay $15 million US to the Merseyside club for the Welsh striker's services, which is a club record signing for West Ham. Bellamy spoke to the media afterwards:

“I supported Liverpool as a boy and would have had the chance to play Champions League football again next season but I needed to look beyond that, in the same way that Lucas Neill did when he came here,” said Bellamy.

“I understood Lucas’s position. If he’d joined Liverpool, he would have been a squad player, like I was. Some people don’t understand it, but the opportunity to be a senior figure at an ambitious club like West Ham is very attractive.

“I’ve signed a five-year contract here, and I will be here for the long term. I’ve moved around a bit in recent years, and now I want to settle.

No comments: