Will West Ham ever solve the big Enner Valencia enigma?

Geoff Hillyer considers whether the striker has justified his price tag

A question for you. Which West Ham United striker, signed for an estimated transfer fee of £12m last summer, had only scored four league goals this season and only one at home. Step forward, Enner ‘Superman’ Valencia. It seems ridiculous to ask the question ‘has he been a good signing’, if you’re using the criteria of goals scored against transfer fee. Three million pounds per goal does seem pretty hefty but there’s more to it than that one statistic alone

After all, this is the same player who scored that magnificent goal against Hull City earlier this season and if you haven’t seen it, watch it because it’s in the running for the Goal of the Season award. You don’t score goals like that unless you have serious talent. He also scored 10 goals for Ecuador last year in 10 appearances, including three at the World Cup, and in his entire career he’s averaged exactly one goal in every four games

Something has clearly gone wrong somewhere this season. There are, in my view, mitigating circumstances. Valencia’s season has been disrupted by injury. Of course, this being West Ham, one of those injuries had to be caused by standing on a broken tea-cup but it hasn’t helped him get any consistency or confidence in the side.

Sam Allardyce’s Will West Ham ever solve the big Enner Valencia enigma? Geoff Hillyer considers whether the striker has justified his price tag Enner Valencia Global star: Enner Valencia made his name in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil insistence that Valencia is played on the wing to accommodate the oneup-top formation has also been a major factor in the reduction of goals scored. Remember when we were flying with Valencia and Sahko up top? Yes, that does seem like a long time ago. It’s not just Valencia’s goals that have dried up but the whole team has been bereft of confidence and goals since the turn of the year.

So, do we conclude from this that Valencia has been a bad signing for the team? Not in my book. The latest rumours are that Chelsea want him. Valencia’s pace and trickery are an asset to any club, especially one such as ours, and you could see why a club like Chelsea would be casting admiring glances because he would add something to their side.

The man has got bags of trickery and pace, and the latest that we hear from club sources is that we’re extremely keen to get him to sign a new contract, one that does not contain a get-out clause as the current one does, offering fresh terms. I believe that he will come good. In fact, I believe he is a better player than Sakho

I’d like to see the two of them up front again because I think they complement each other well but even if he is played on the wing, I believe he has his place in the side. Ultimately, as West Ham fans, we demand entertainment. Players like Enner Valencia with his pace, trickery and skill provides that

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