On the face of it, West Ham appear to be doing some decent transfer business this season.
Manuel Pellegrini has made good on his promise to sift through the dead wood and bring in some new faces, whilst also making it clear that other players are available for the right price.
Quite why he wants to part with Michail Antonio is anyone’s guess, especially for a reported £15 million, but the Chilean will have his reasons.
Jack Wilshere has got the chattering classes down at the London Stadium all excited, and as a purported Hammers fan, at least one can be assured he’ll give everything for the claret and blue.
Quite how often he’ll be able to do so is debatable at this juncture.
Arsene Wenger recently labelled him as a ‘Messi-type’ player who reminds the Frenchman of Mbappe. And yet he allowed the player to run down his contract without offering him another.
New-man-in-charge of the Gunners, Unai Emery, wouldn’t give him guarantees over playing time, and so he left. At 26 years of age, in the prime of his career, there’s a reason why no club other than West Ham wanted him.
It’s symptomatic of their buying policy and has been for years, and the fact that they have more money to bandy around now changes nothing.
Andriy Yarmolenko is being talked up as some sort of saviour too.
The Ukrainian has some impressive numbers from earlier in his career, but he’s tailed off significantly whilst at Borussia Dortmund.
Again, why would you let (in this case) a 28-year-old move onto pastures new for the relative bargain price in today’s market of a reported £17.5m.
Even new Hammers Director of Football, Mario Husillos, was quoted at Yarmolenko’s unveiling as saying he “didn’t perhaps quite show his best at Dortmund.”
It begs the question as to why the club are going anywhere near him, but it’s a typically hopeful West Ham punt. If you keep persevering with the same way of working, one player has to work out in the end. Law of averages, right?
He’s a reasonable name to keep the fans happy enough initially, but that will soon subside when they realise they’ve been sold another dud.
You can’t really blame the player for coming for a decent pay day, nor the coach who’s working within tight budgetary constraints.
The board will have everyone believe that they’re spending more than ever before – which, technically, they are – but in the current market, it’s relative to what they would’ve spent before Neymar’s transfer to PSG blew market prices off the chart.
Gold and Sullivan might well be dipping into their pockets to the tune of somewhere in the region of £100m across the summer, but it’s small change compared to what the teams they’ll be fighting for Europe with are spending.
But back to Yarmolenko.
He’s player that is physical so he’ll be able to handle the rough stuff, but whose passing isn’t the best, something that the Hammers thrive on. The ‘West Ham way’ if you prefer.
He doesn’t defend, or at least it’s not been a feature of his game to this point with less than one successful tackle made per game in 2017/18.
In 18 appearances for Dortmund last season he managed a paltry three goals.
He could prove everyone wrong of course, but, just like Jack Wilshere, if he’s as good as West Ham are making him out to be, he simply wouldn’t sign for them in the first place.
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