Tiger Tom Huddlestone to become a Hammer?
One of the more surprising rumours to emerge recently, is that of Hull City’s Tom Huddlestone possible return to the Premier League with West Ham United, who are 9/4 shots with Coral for a top 10 finish.
If the tabloids are to be believed, new coach Slaven Bilic, who favours a deep-lying playmaker, wants to make Huddlestone a Hammer.
The Upton Park club have been spending freely all summer, with reports that, as the Londoners are looking for a new midfielder, the current Tiger could be a cheaper alternative to injured Alex Song.
With Europa League football and high expectations from the Hammers hierarchy, West Ham need to avoid the set backs a thin squad caused last season.
In Huddlestone, capped four times for England, Bilic would be buying a proven Premier League player with oodles of technical ability.
Renowned for his long-range radar and pinpoint passing, as well as the occasional volley or vicious strike form distance, the sturdy Derby County academy product’s career has mainly been hampered by injury.
Also lacking in the pace department, gifted Huddlestone fell down the pecking order at Tottenham, for whom he had played since 2005/06, eventually moving on to Hull in 2013, where he became a linchpin under Steve Bruce.
As the Tigers are now back toiling in the Championship, Huddlestone, who once notably raised thousands for charity after promising not to cut his hair until he scored a goal, which would take two-and-a-half years, looks set to leave.
Boss Bruce recently addressed the rumours, saying: “I am sure West Ham, like anybody, knows he has a buy-out in his contract and if they get to that figure I am powerless.
“The agents will be touting him around everywhere, which I know they are. But there’s nothing I can do,” added the former Manchester United captain.
Losing Huddlestone, who brought little end product with just two assists in the top tier last term but helped knit the team together, would be a big blow for the Humbersiders, who are 11/2 to win the Championship.
However, for the Hammers, who have plenty of potential in Diego Poyet and Reece Oxford, plus spades of graft and energy from Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate, it makes sense.
Bilic will need further guile behind his attacking midfielders if he is to grind down stubborn defences and Huddlestone who, amazingly at 28, still seems like a player who can develop further, could prove a cut-price, home-grown solution.