On paper, this has been West Ham’s best transfer window in a decade. The Hammers have previously had a tendency to be a refuge for older, slower, border-line unwanted players, but this summer, we suddenly took an interest in a new breed of player. This time, we went for younger, more promising, and faster players. We brought in new and dare I say, exciting, signings.
Our focus in buying these players has been with attacking in mind (as our grand total of what, three centre-backs in the squad will attest to) but it is a bold statement of intent by our board for a more lively upcoming season. Some players have already taken to the hallowed turf, and others have yet to do so, but since it’s the season for heading back toschool, here’s my school report on our new summer signings.
Mauro Zarate (B+)
Zarate was one of the first through the door, and brought some serious skills with him. He scored a lovely goal against Crystal Palace, and then he skillfully set up Mark Noble against Southampton. However, he also let their defense mark him far too tightly, which more or less took him out of the game.
Cheikhou Kouyate (A+)
Kouyate has already been a regular feature in our Premier League games so far, and it’s easy to see why. Skillful, quick, and clever, he’s made a strong addition to the squad and has already put in a Man of the Match winning performance. Picking a favourite summer signing would be like picking a favourite child but… he’s my favourite child.
Aaron Cresswell (A)
Diego Poyet (B)
Poyet was named Charlton Athletic’s Player of the Year even though he only became a first team regular in February. He’s made a subs appearance in the Premier League, and played in our Capital One Cup washout versus Sheffield United, and looked good — although he and Noble play very similarly, and could overlap each other at times. He’s young, and is another investment for the future.
Enner Valencia (B)
Our very own Superman, Valencia is rumoured to be not quite match fit, but he’s made two substitute appearances so far, and also featured in that irritating cup match. He looks lively and aggressive, and hungry for the ball, but we’ve not seen him long enough or at his full potential yet.
Diafra Sakho (A-)
Lively, pacey, and quick — so far, Sakho has started one game and scored one goal, which is a brilliant start to his West Ham career. Expect big things from the former Metz man; I certainly do.
Alexandre Song (On-loan from Barcelona) (A+)
You guys, he played for Barcelona! He’s a big deal! He’s going to be a hero!
Morgan Amalfitano (B)
Not the youngest of our incoming players, but has a proven Premier League track record. The midfielder was previously loaned out to West Bromwich Albion, where he scored four goals in 31 games. Remains to be seen how he’ll fit into the Hammers side.
Carl Jenkinson (On-loan from Arsenal) (B)
The only thing keeping Arsenal’s biggest fan out of our side is a niggling injury, but the 22-yearold is poised to get some great experience from his time at Upton Park and also bring some great experience to Upton Park — apparently, the kid’s even played in the Champions League before.
Big Sam (B)
The thing is… if Sam made all these signings, well then he’s done rather well hasn’t he? The trouble is it’s hard to tell if they were made as per his directive or at the behest of the board. He’s had some good initial usage of the new players, but I have my concerns about how many of the strikers we’ll see once Carroll and Nolan are fit and we revert to our rather familiar one up front.
In the mean time, we’ve got some brilliant additions to the squad to cheer on, and let’s all hope that this is a strong start to the building of a brilliant season.