Last season’s transfer windows were hugely underwhelming for West Ham supporters. To put how poor they were into context, just three of the players acquired –Marko Arnautovic, Chicharito and Pablo Zabaleta- will continue to represent the club’s first team this campaign, with only one of them a certain starter. The contrast between that one and this is incredible. Deadline day signings Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez, from Arsenal and Fiorentina respectively, takes the number of additions to 10, with the majority of them likely to at least push for a first team place.
These two transfers targeted two longstanding problem areas: depth upfront and in midfield. The eight previous names added to Manuel Pellegrini’s talent pool will also cause excitement for Hammers. In defence Lukasz Fabianski is a much-needed goalkeeping option, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena will battle it out for a starting spot at centre back and Ryan Fredericks adds pace at full back. Jack Wilshere offers creativity in midfield following his free transfer. In the attacking areas, Xande Silva is a future prospect to keep an eye on, Andriy Yarmolenko will help add to the Hammers’ goal tally and there is of course record signing Felipe Anderson joining from Lazio, with the promise of keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
After last season’s debacle, which almost led to relegation and the response to it from supporters, especially during the 3-0 loss to Burnley, there was considerable pressure on the West Ham owners to change their approach during this window. With the appointments of Pellegrini as manager and Mario Husillos as director of football, there has been a lot more direction in the club’s recruitment this time around.
The significant thing about this for supporters –aside from the obvious fact that this should help better performances on the pitch- is that this is the first sign of what they had been promised upon their arrival at the London Stadium. When the club left Upton Park, David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady promised that the move would take West Ham United to another level, with the stadium playing its part in attracting new talent.
It is impossible to pinpoint one aspect that has improved the club’s fortunes regarding transfers this time around; the appointment of Pellegrini and Husillos pushing moves through, pressure from supporters forcing their hand or a natural realisation from the owners that player recruitment needed to change. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that this has been addressed, and while it doesn’t guarantee success on the pitch, it should help the club towards their aspirations of eventually challenging for European places.
Even more importantly though, this will help to bring more of a feel-good factor to the Hammers, which has been so clearly missing since the move from Upton Park. This could bring much needed improvement for what has been a frosty relationship between the supporters and owners. When seeing the reactions from Newcastle fans towards Mike Ashley and his decision to not spend the desired sums of money yet again this summer, it is difficult to think what the reaction would have been in East London if past windows had been replicated, when last season’s protests are considered.
With attributing factors both on and off the pitch, it was imperative that West Ham had a successful summer transfer window ahead of the 2018/19 season. While the accomplishments can only be truly measured once the season has begun, the impression is that the club has spent well this summer. As the Hammers start their campaign on Sunday, in an away match against Liverpool, we can expect to see around six of the new recruits in action and while matches like this won’t define a season for a club such as West Ham, it will give a slight indication as to what the club has bought.
Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Premier League Fantasy Managers? If you’re up to challenging the best then play www.fantasy-premier.com now!