West Ham transfer plans won’t be affected by Europa or Conference League fate, says David Moyes

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

David Moyes has set his sights on an immediate return to the Europa League but insists qualifying for the Conference instead will not affect West Ham’s summer transfer plans.

The Hammers reached the semi-finals of the former competition this season before falling to Eintracht Frankfurt earlier this month.

They go into Sunday’s penultimate game of the Premier League season in seventh-place, which would see them enter the third-tier Europa Conference League at the start of the new campaign.

However, Moyes’ side are just three points behind Manchester United in sixth with a game in hand and a significantly better goal difference, meaning they could yet climb the table.

When asked whether transfer targets would be dictated by which European competition his side are in, Moyes said: “I don’t think so, I’m hoping we can at worst finish seventh. We’ve got a lot to do, we need points because we expect Wolves [in eighth] to have a chance in at least one of their games so we need more points for ourselves.

“But I think European football for us would be terrific again if it happens. If we can make the Europa League that would be great, to finish close to where we were last season. But I’ll take any of the European competitions and be thrilled if we got there again.

“We will try and add to the squad of we can but we have a really good team at the moment. If we can get another couple of players we will do that but I don’t think whether if matters whether we’re in Europa League or Conference League, we’ll embrace either.”

Moyes also welcomed Uefa’s decision to back away from plans to award Champions League places based on historic performance as part of the competition’s expansion, which was confirmed this week.

From the 2024/25 season, the tournament will increase from 32 to 36 teams, each playing with group matches rather than six.

Rather than being awarded to the teams with the greatest recent European pedigree according to Uefa’s coefficient not already qualified, two of the additional places will now be handed to teams from the domestic leagues whose representatives performed best in European competition the previous season.

Were the system already in place, that would see the team finishing fifth in the Premier League qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

“We’re glad we’re seeing a bit of light,” Moyes said. “I don’t think it was something anyone was behind.

“I think in football you want competition like we have the pyramid system, you want teams promoted.

“For that to get taken away from clubs, even us at West Ham getting back to Europe was so big. You see how important it was. For the people of East London, the people at the stadium. It was a huge thing. So for UEFA then to go back and make things fairer, I don’t think we should just look at the clubs who’ve had success in the past. You have to look to the future and there should always be the opportunity for other clubs to get that chance.”