The January transfer window is the equivalent of fans finding the biggest magnifying glass in the world and holding it over their respective clubs, just to see what’s really happening behind closed doors. We all want to know every detail of every prospect and we want to know how our club handles business off the field.
This is clearly a tough time for boards and managers because, of course, we all become the armchair fans everyone loves to hate. The first question to come at the end of the January window is always: ‘has my club done the right thing in the last few weeks?’
The burning issue for the Hammers this season has been keeping players fit, and at times, strikers have been at a premium. All right, there are other areas of the field that perhaps need more covering options, but strikers are like Ferrero Rocher – you can’t have too many.
At the close of the transfer window, the Hammers had managed to keep most of their strike force – something that is oft en applauded by fans. We lost Zarate to Fiorentina in what was reported to be a £1.6 million fee, although it’s officially an undisclosed one. While he isn’t a recognized striker as such, his natural forward play did prove useful, but he seemed to be a Marmite player amongst fans.
But £1.6 million? Really? Th at probably goes to show that poor Mauro featured very minimally in Bilic’s plans for the near future, supposing all remaining attackers stay mostly fit. To liven up the strike force, it was decided to sign Emmanuel Emenike on loan until the end of the season. Gone are the days when anyone can say that the manager signed a player, because the politics involved means that it could have been any member of the board.
A player not without his controversies, Emenike’s ability to settle needs to be apparent pretty sharpish. Aft er being caught up in a match fixing scandal at Karabukspor, his dream move to Fenerbahce was cut short. In fact, he was quickly sold to Spartak Moscow aft er just two months at the Turkish side. Th e Nigerian was cleared of any wrongdoing, but various on-field incidents have plagued his otherwise successful career.
It has to be said though, that his goal scoring record used to speak for itself. Scoring 30 times in 51 appearances for Karabukspor, and 21 in 42 league outings for Spartak Moscow, it’s fair to say he was quite an asset.
His return to Fenerbahce didn’t turn out to be the dream he hoped it would be and he hit the back of the net just 16 times in 55 league appearances. This was largely due to being played out of position and subsequently falling out with the management team and the fans.
Last season’s loan spell at Al Ain saw seven goals in 11 league games. However, he also fell out with that club too, over accusations of underperforming. He refused to continue his loan spell after six months. It will be interesting to see how he looks in a West Ham shirt.