By Will Butcher
Dean Smith has revealed that he decided to leave Scott Hogan out of his Brentford side “in the long term interests of the football club”, as West Ham reportedly remain interested.
TalkSPORT broadcaster Ian Abrahams claimed last week that the 24-year-old striker is set to join the Hammers in the next few days, after multiple bids from the east London outfit.
In quotes published by West London Sport, Smith revealed the reason for leaving the attacker on the bench for the entire 90 minutes during the 2-1 loss to Newcastle.
“I made a decision on Thursday not to play Scott and I felt that Romaine Sawyers and Lasse Vibe did well last week,” Smith said.
“I decided not to start him in the long-term interests of the football club. I didn’t think it was right to start him and Scott didn’t either.”
The Telegraph’s Jason Burt revealed on Monday that there was third offer on the table for Brentford’s number nine from the Hammers, which could be enough to see him move.
The 24-year-old has been in fine form in front of goal, scoring 14 goals from 25 Championship matches for the Bees, as Smith’s side sit in 15th in the second tier of English football.
With summer signings Jonathan Calleri, Simone Zaza and Andre Ayew managing just one goal between them this season, a new forward has been targeted this month by Slaven Bilic.
Football Insider verdict:
Leaving him out of the side without even resorting to the tried and tested excuse of saying he had picked up a knock in training shows Smith has resorted to coming to terms with losing his top scorer. Whether a move will prove beneficial for the Hammers remains unclear, as Hogan is untested at the top level after moving to Griffin Park from League Two side Rochdale. However, his eye for goal is undoubted with more than one goal in every two games and could be the difference in the Hammers looking up the Premier League table rather than down it and towards a relegation battle.
In other West Ham transfer news, Karren Brady has made this admission about transfers.