After months and months of refreshing Twitter, fans bombarding so called ‘in the knows’ for any information, Jack Sullivan teasing us with ‘don’t go to bed’ clues and constant arguments about who wants Zaza and who wants Bacca, the transfer window has finally slammed shut. Well, not until Jim White shouted at us for six hours pretending he knows everything that is going on, whilst Kate Abdo rolled her eyes at him in pity.
But when Big Ben chimed at 11pm on Deadline Day it brought an end to all the rumours and speculation, and the Hammers had signed 12 players. It has been a busy summer for David Sullivan and his staff as they looked to give the Hammers a squad of players fit for its new home, and whilst their strategy of buying squad players may now look a little silly following the Hammers embarrassing exit to Astra in the Europa League, you cannot doubt the club’s ambition.
And the squad fillers in Havard Nordtveit, Gokhan Torë, Ashley Fletcher and Jonathan Calleri seem astute. Perhaps the most key moment of this transfer window was the Hammers holding on to their key asset Dimitri Payet from the greedy mitts of Manchester United and Paris Saint German. I admire the club’s forward-thinking too; the club has looked to bring in players for both now and the future, with 16-year-old Domingos Quina a particularly exciting looking buy for the club.
Alongside the aforementioned Fletcher, who looks to be a more than handy little player, the club also moved to bring in Edimilson Fernandes from FC Sion. It is clear the club have half an eye on the future with these arrivals and it is great to see. Just as I was starting to have concerns about the club not strengthening the defence, we swooped on Deadline Day for World Cup-winning full-back Alvaro Arbeloa on a one-year deal to help Sam Byram out at right back, another terrific move in my book. He will bring vital experience and a winning mentality to the side, a perfect mentor to the former Leeds United man.
The board also moved to sign Masuaku to finally solve a long-term issue the club has had at left-back. Whilst, Aaron Cresswell has been quality there over the years, Cresswell didn’t really ever have any obvious competition so knew he could get away with a bad game every now and then. Whether Masuakuwould’ve arrived had Cresswell not been snapped in two in pre-season we’ll never know, but the early signs are good with Masuaku looking good so far this season.
As for Ayew, you couldn’t get any more West Ham if you tried, his arrival and then subsequent injury lay off couldn’t sum up the West Ham way any better. Simone Zaza should bring a winning mentality to the club too, although he didn’t set the world alight at Juve he has secured a couple of medals and will bring a touch of bravado to the forward line, which is desperately needed at the club. The Hammers current forward line looks bereft of any real confidence.
The arrivals of Zaza and Ayew are equally crucial; the Hammers have lacked a presence and a goal scorer for some time, so to bring in two in one window is a real signal of intent from the board. The Italian will bring goals I have little doubt about that, and I also believe that Ayew will make an impact when he returns to fitness whenever that may be, two weeks if you believe the Ghanaian witch doctors.
The departure of James Tomkins was disappointing, but the fee received for our fourth choice centre-half was good, and it will also allow us to give Reece Oxford the chance to receive some more game time. The predictable departure of Enner Valencia to Everton is hardly surprising given the lack of form showed by the Ecuadorian, so whilst I wish him well, I don’t see his exit as a huge loss. All in all, though, it’s been a productive window for the Hammers, my tip for the end of season signing of the year, is Sofiane Feghouli – who on a free represents phenomenal business from Bilic and the board.