West Ham captain Mark Noble ‘went too far’ by speaking out against the club’s decision to cash-in on Hammers prodigy Grady Diangana.
That’s according to former Premier League players Danny Mills and Micky Gray, who claim club chiefs Karren Brady, David Gold and David Sullivan will be left ‘absolutely furious’ with the skipper’s actions.
Noble posted on Twitter that he was ‘angry and sad’ with the news of Diangana’s exit to West Brom.
The 22-year-old winger spent last season on loan at the Hawthorns, where he managed eight goals and seven assists to help the Baggies to promotion back to the top flight.
Hammers fans were eager to see him return to play in claret and blue and were excited for his breakthrough season ahead, having also seen him impress during the club’s pre-season campaign.
And there was outrage among the West Ham faithful when the club announced on Friday they had agreed to sell Diangana to West Brom in a permanent deal worth £18million.
The club defended the decision to cash-in on the promising star, saying the additional funds will help David Moyes strengthen his team in key areas ahead of the 2020/21 season.
But that wasn’t enough to appease supporters, while Noble, Declan Rice and Jack Wilshere also made it clear they were on the fans’ side as they reacted on social media on Friday night.
Gray understands why, saying Diangana is a ‘great talent’ having watched him a number of times last season, but he believes Noble, as club captain, perhaps went a bit too far by going public with his criticism.
“Mark Noble is Mr West Ham – he’s been there as a kid, he’s come all the way through the ranks and he’s played so many games for the club and he’s the captain of the club – he’s a powerful guy in that dressing room,” Gray said on The Sports Bar on talkSPORT.
“This is pretty huge for him to come out and say that, and personally I think it’s maybe a step too far.
“I can imagine right at this moment that Karren Brady, David Gold and David Sullivan are absolutely furious, really, really furious.
“Only Mark Noble will know why he’s done this, but maybe he’s as annoyed as everybody else. He’s a West Ham supporter and wants to see these young players breaking through, show the West Ham supporters how much talent they’ve got and maybe take West Ham to that next level, instead of buying a player for £30m or £40m.
“They’ve got the talent at their disposal right now – and he is a talent by the way, I’ve seen him play on numerous occasions – so why let him go when I’m sure he would have been happy to go out on loan for another season, wait his turn and then when his opportunity comes you’ve got a proper player who wants to play for West Ham.
“The fans would have loved to see that, and that’s why the captain of West Ham United is so frustrated right now.”
Meanwhile, Mills branded Noble’s comment ‘unnecessary’ and urging the captain to ‘put his thumbs away’, saying players shouldn’t comment on the club’s business decisions in the public forum.
The former defender added: “Is he bored? Is he sat at home thinking, ‘I’ll send this out’ without really thinking about the consequences?
“It’s not bad, but it’s not great either and as club captain of that club I think you probably expect a little bit more than that.
“Players move, it’s simple and we know that, and £18million is a lot for a young kid who has cost them absolutely nothing. It’s lottery time for Brady, Gold and Sullivan and it’s an opportunity to claw a lot of money back that they’ve wasted.
“I think it’s a little bit ill-advised for players to start questioning what the club are doing.
“Sometimes when you get a good fee for a player you just take it, and if it comes back to bit you in the backside then so be it. We’ve seen it with Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne at Chelsea, we’ve seen it with loads of players.
“But we’ve also seen it where players go for big money, players like Dominic Solanke and Jordan Ibe at Bournemouth and nothing happens, they just disappear and they don’t produce anywhere near the sort of performances you expect.
“So it’s a good fee for a young player, isn’t it?
“I don’t think Mark Noble should come out against the club. Everybody is savvy enough that he knows that’s going to picked up and everybody is going to see that.
“To say he’s disappointed is one thing, to say he’s angry, is that necessary? You’re bringing problems on yourself, you’ve under enough pressure and scrutiny as it is, why pile more pressure on you?
“If it’s a massive and important thing, we’ve seen it with Black Lives Matter and with what Marcus Rashford is doing, brilliant, but if you’re just going to cause issues, don’t bother and put your thumbs away.”