By Harvey Byrne
David Gold has revealed that West Ham were missing nine first-team players for the clash against Astra Giurgiu on Thursday evening.
The Hammers lost the tie 1-0 after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, meaning the east London club crashed out of the Europa League at the play-off stage, as they did last year to the same team.
On Friday, on his personal Twitter account, West Ham’s joint chairman Gold blamed this year’s defeat on the missing players, although he was quick to point out it wasn’t “an excuse”.
Following the rather contradictory Tweet, he named the nine injured players that could have produced a different result for the Hammers.
West Ham also crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Astra Giurgiu last season, but in the third qualifying round.
Slaven Bilic has looked to build a large squad this summer with the European competition in mind.
The Croatian manager has brought in ten players already, while Joey O’Brien and James Tomkins have been the only senior names to depart from the club this window.
Bilic is still looking to bring in a striker and the club have been linked with moves for Loic Remy and Simone Zaza, while the former Croatia boss confirmed his interest in Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony earlier in the week.
On Thursday, before the Euro defeat, a columnist called ‘The Insider’ on the official West Ham website claimed that the Hammers will know in the next 48 hours if they are to complete a deal.
“The club have been strongly linked with moves for Wilfried Bony, Loic Remy and Simone Zaza,” the Insider wrote.
“It is my understanding that the Club will discover in the next 48 whether the deal will be finalised and they are 75 per cent confident of getting their man.”
West Ham fans will be hoping that the loss to Astra Giurgiu doesn’t have a negative impact on the deal.