The 2012/13 season was a largely positive campaign for fans, players, staff and everyone else associated with West Ham United, although one or two players will be looking to make a better impression in the upcoming Premier League season. One member of our claret and blue squad who will be looking for far more match time and to get into Big Sam’s good books is our 2012 summer signing, Modibo Maïga.
The Malian forward joined the club from Sochaux for a reported £4.5million fee, which encouraged a lot of Hammers fans to raise some expectations they would have from Maïga. But it would be a disappointing campaign for Modibo, scoring just four goals in all competitions, and spending the majority of his time on the pitch out on the wing as Allardyce picked Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole to lead the line over the new arrival from FC Sochaux.
There were high points and low points for Maïga over the season, it would always be tough for the striker to get used to the English Premier League, and the forward’s worst moment in claret and blue was getting pulled off after 31 minutes against Spurs where he struggled with the strength of Tottenham right back Kyle Walker
Maïga’s highlights were the two league goals, the first a stunning finish against fellow newly promoted side Southampton, and the second a competent strike to round off the superb win against Chelsea in our performance of the season. With Carlton Cole released at the end of his contract and loanees Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista finishing their time at the Boleyn Ground, it leaves the squad with just Maïga and Carroll as known centreforwards.
The club worked superbly hard to bring Andy Carroll back after his loan spell, breaking our record transfer fee, though he is unlikely to feature from the off in our first couple of games as he recovers from injury and gains match fitness. This is the opportunity that Maïga needs to grab with both hands, and his preseason form has shown that he wants to prove his worth ahead of the new season.
At just 25 years old the Hammers forward has some years at the top of his game to come, and is certainly worth his place in the squad, if he improves this season he could stay at West Ham United for some time. Having moved to France with Le Mans at just 20 the striker just needs time to get comfortable, and our terrific fans must provide this as he adapts to the Premier League.