I ’m always a little bit disappointed when I see a former West Ham player who I liked popping up playing for another Premier League club aft er leaving us. Whilst I’m pleased that Valon Behrami is still enjoying a successful career, I’m mildly disappointed it’s with another club, and one that’s had the better of us once already this season. Th e Switzerland international initially played for us from July 2008 and left aft er January 2011.
He subsequently played for Fiorentina, Napoli and Hamburg and impressed internationally in Switzerland’s run in the 2014 World Cup. Th e talented midfielder then joined Watford in July 2015 as part of manager Quique Sanchez Flores’s impressive revival of the Hornets. Since swapping Hammers for Watford, Behrami has done well on the pitch. So did West Ham make a mistake in not retaining the services of Behrami?
Could he have become a life-long hero for the Hammers? He was a good solid player for West Ham but he was one whose career with us was dramatically affected by injury. Whilst beating Manchester City at home in March 2009 he injured his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, which ended his season.
He returned to playing in September 2009, but was injured again soon aft er for over a month. Th e following season, 2010-11 he featured in just seven games before he moved to Fiorentina in January 2011. It seems rather out of character for West Ham to have shipped someone off aft er a string of injuries as we tend to love players whose careers are blighted by injury, but there you have it. Behrami was liked at the club when he played and it’s likely he would have continued to be liked should he have stayed, but it is admittedly hard to see how he would have fit into subsequent sides.
There’s no way he’d have gotten playing time over Sam Allardyce’s favourite player ever, Kevin Nolan, who joined the club in summer 2011. Similarly, where would we even put him in our current midfield when Barcelona loanee Alex Song can’t even get a game. Th e bar has been raised so high for West Ham United aft er the signings of Dimitri Payet, Michail Antonio, Cheikhou Kouyate and Manuel Lanzini.
I’m not too destroyed that we won’t see a tower block of flats in east London named aft er Behrami, but while I like him and wish him well. Whenever we do get around to playing Watford again this season, he’s already dead to me. Especially if he keeps another clean sheet.