I've been thinking about something I heard someone say the other day on a podcast (can't remember who, apologies). They were talking about George Graham (I think) and his recruitment at Arsenal. To paraphrase, Graham said something like 'I never sign players from bigger clubs, because they treat you like they're doing you a favour' and I wonder if this is almost one of our problems at times.
When we think about Moyes' recruitment, a lot of those players came to the club, making a step up, with something to prove and came to us with real hunger. He seems to be starting to try to do the same thing at West Ham with Bowen coming, and the interest in Eze.
We're not signing too many hungry players, with things to prove at a higher level. At times there's been a lot of players who come here from larger clubs or have played at higher levels than us prior to that (Schneiderlin, Delph, Sigurdsson, Gomes, Iwobi). I'm not saying those players come here thinking consciously 'I don't give a fuck' but I do think there's probably a subconscious 'if this doesn't work out, I'm fine, I've played at x level, someone else will give me a contract' kind of fallback, which means they don't always give that extra effort that we've been used to in the past.
Maybe we need to start bearing that in mind more. I can see why George Graham would have that attitude. The power in the relationship with the players should lie with the club and the manager, not the player. The players should be grateful to be at your club and want to give everything for it (as much as that is possible in a world of insanely rich young men), rather than feeling like they're doing you a favour and they'll down tools or fuck off, if things get too difficult.