West Ham have completed the £4m signing of Middlesbrough’s Darren Randolph after the goalkeeper passed further medical checks on the thigh injury that threatened to scupper the deal.
Randolph has not played since 24 November and West Ham, desperate to bring in cover for the injured Lukasz Fabianski, considered pulling the plug on the transfer after doubts arose during the Republic of Ireland international’s medical last week. Although Randolph is expected to be available to face Everton at the London Stadium on Sunday, West Ham were concerned about him breaking down again given the problems caused by Fabianski’s injury problems.
Fabianski was out for three months after suffering a torn hip muscle against Bournemouth last September and West Ham suffered without their first-choice goalkeeper. Roberto, signed as Fabianski’s deputy last summer, toiled after coming into the team and David Martin, the No3 goalkeeper, is not viewed as a regular Premier League starter.
Roberto’s disastrous performances played a large part in Manuel Pellegrini’s sacking last month. West Ham, who are a point above the bottom three, slid into a relegation battle while the Spaniard was in goal. Roberto was recommended by Mario Husillos, the director of football, and the free signing was sanctioned by Pellegrini, who has been replaced as manager by David Moyes. Husillos has also been fired.
West Ham knew they had to solve their goalkeeping situation this month and a deal for Randolph to become Moyes’s first signing was expected to be concluded smoothly after a price was agreed with Middlesbrough, only for concerns to emerge during the 32-year-old’s medical.
The transfer was placed in further doubt when Fabianski suffered a thigh injury while taking a goal-kick during last Friday’s 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United. Martin was responsible for United’s winner after replacing Fabianski, who is expected to be out for two weeks, and there were fears on Randolph’s side that West Ham would not want to gamble on his fitness. West Ham were soon considering alternatives, including Aston Villa’s Lovre Kalinic, Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge, Fulham’s Marcus Bettinelli and Preston North End’s Declan Rudd.
The delay had raised the prospect of Middlesbrough, who were reluctant to sell, pulling out of the deal. After stringent checks, however, West Ham’s medical staff gave the green light for the deal. Randolph has insisted throughout that he is fine and he can point to a good overall fitness record at Middlesbrough, having made 106 league appearances since joining from West Ham in 2017.
West Ham’s January business is unlikely to stop at Randolph. Moyes, who lost out to Tottenham in the race to sign the Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes on loan from Benfica, wants a midfielder and is interested in Stoke’s Joe Allen.