A transfer window that offered so much fizzled out and ended in frustrating fashion for West Ham United after a disappointing deadline day where the Irons failed to land any of their targets. The club failed in a record bid for Portuguese holding midfielder William Carvalho, while they were also unable or unwilling to complete loan moves for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere or Everton’s Kevin Mirallas.
It was a strange situation as, with the club seemingly willing to invest more than £35million on a holding midfielder that they didn’t move onto alternative targets when it became clear that Sporting Lisbon were unwilling to play ball over their star asset. Here Blowing Bubbles looks back over the window as a whole and considers if West Ham signed what they needed and if the deals represented value for money.
Pablo Zabaleta The former Manchester City midfielder was a swift signing, penning his deal on May 26 before the 16/17 season was even a cold, distant memory. At the age of 32 he’s not past it, but we can give him the label of an ‘experienced’ defender, which is no bad thing in the Premier League.
Whilst the 17/18 season is still young, we can see that he’s already given us a preview of what we expected from him; a wise head with good footballing sense, but maybe not with the legs for swift strikers or 90 minutes. What’s not in question is his ability to be loyal and give his all. In a staggering nine seasons at Manchester City he was a fan favourite and put in an average of 25 appearances per season.
Fan murmurs highlighted the general consensus that he was a player above the age we should be looking for, but was worth a chance for free, especially in this crazy marketplace.
Joe Hart After what felt like forever, the Hammers next signing was unveiled – a loan move for Manchester City outcast Joe Hart. There had been whispers of Hart coming to East London since January, so it wasn’t a surprise to hear England’s number one had joined us on loan.
It’s fair to say he was greeted with a mixed reaction. Following a relatively poor season at Torino and with the Italian fans pleased to see Joe leave, it was difficult to see how this was an upward step from Adrian, who had become Bilic’s number two ‘keeper. There’s also minimal financial risk in his arrival, so if he gets some good momentum he could prove to be a vital piece in the London Stadium puzzle.
Marko Arnautovic Arnautovic arrived with undoubted potential but something to prove – that he can be a consistent performer and less temperamental. He’s got pace, power and a stunning strike, but characteristically only when he wants to have.
As a club record signing at around £25 million, fans expected Marko to make an impact and to replicate some of that decent form of 15/16, a –season in which he scored 11 Premier League goals in 34 appearances. It was known that he wasn’t a happy man in his last season at Stoke and the final indicator was the transfer request he handed in. Sadly, he’s already let himself down with a red card against Southampton.
Javier Hernandez On a more positive note, the Little Pea has had a cracking start. There was a lot of expectation placed on his shoulders upon his arrival on July 24 for £16 million, a snip in these times; Chicharito has announced his arrival loudly on the pitch, but in his well-known pleasant manner off it.
The anticipation amongst fans is that this could actually be our man who’s regularly on the score sheet and can provide a little memorable magic along the way. He’s a poacher, which is sometimes what West Ham need – someone just to be in the right place at the right time.
In his very infant Hammers career, he’s also illustrated his capacity to be an influential player off the ball with pace, good spatial awareness and knowing where to run to. Although he’s built up a bit of a reputation to be a ‘super-sub’, Bilic needs him to be more than that. At the age of 29, he’s more than able to step up to the mark and challenge for a regular place.
Sead Haksabanovic Finally, the arrival of young midfielder Sead Haksabanovic was announced in August. He’s a player that we don’t know too much about, only that he has had several Premier League trials before being snapped up by West Ham.