Tigers vice-chairman Ehab Allam has pledged to back new head coach Marco Silva in the fight for survival. Richard Sutcliffe reports.
ANOTHER DAY, another Hull City player linked with the exit door.
The story of the January transfer window so far continued yesterday with sources in the Midlands suggesting West Bromwich Albion have made a £10m offer for Jake Livermore.
Following on from the two West Ham United bids for Robert Snodgrass that were rejected last week, it is clear would-be suitors are determined to test the resolve of the Tigers during a window that is understood to have seen Andrew Robertson, Abel Hernandez and Sam Clucas also watched by rival clubs.
Vice-chairman Ehab Allam declined to comment on individual players but is adamant that Hull’s intention is to strengthen the squad this month and give new head coach Marco Silva the best possible chance of leading the club to safety.
“We have never been a selling club under our ownership,” he said when asked about the likelihood of Hull holding on to their star names beyond the end of this month. “Look at the last six years, we have been a buying club and not a selling one.
“There is no appetite to sell players. They are our best assets and we are in a survival fight. We do not want to weaken the team and we are focused on making additions.
“Having said that, everything and everyone has its price. And you can’t hold people to ransom and say: ‘You are not leaving, regardless’. It is also true that we need everyone pulling in the same direction if we are to win this survival fight.
“There is no appetite to sell but if we do then the price would have to reflect that we are fighting for survival and do not need to sell.”
The actions of Dimitri Payet over the past few days underline just where the power lies in modern football. West Ham’s stance in insisting the Frenchman won’t leave despite going on strike is laudable but the suspicion remains that he will be back with Marseilles before the end of the month due to money talking.
In Hull’s case, what has strengthened their own hand if any bids do come in is the recent triggering of a clause in the contracts of Snodgrass, Livermore, Hernandez, Robertson, Michael Dawson and Harry Maguire that extended all six deals by a further 12 months to the summer of 2018.
Without that, the recent offers of £3m and £5m for Snodgrass would surely not have been as easy to dismiss.
“We see this window as an opportunity to strengthen further and give ourselves every chance in that fight for survival,” added Allam, who appointed Marco Silva as Mike Phelan’s successor during the first week of the year.
“Making the change of manager was part of that thinking. The January window was here and we felt it more sensible to have fresh ideas. We needed someone to hit the ground running and Marco fitted the bill.
“I felt him being used to small budgets would be a good fit for us. And, yes, we want to back him. The evidence of that you will see over the window.”
New faces Evandro, the former Porto playmaker, and Everton loanee Oumar Niasse both made their debuts in last Saturday’s much-needed 3-1 win over Bournemouth.
“We got two (new signings) in on Friday and, hopefully, there are more to come,” added Allam.
“We are backing him to a level that is sustainable for this club, we are Hull after all. He is aware of the budget and so far, so good. I like the changes he has made.”