How do you solve a problem like Arthur Masuaku? This is a question that needs answering very quickly this summer.
With the club looking increasingly unlikely to spend much money this summer transfer window and seeming hell-bent on selling anyone who attracts the interest of another club before the window closes, questions have been raised about Masuaku’s future.
Given the situation West Ham finds itself in this summer, there are pros and cons for cashing in on a player who has offered very little during his Hammers career thus far and doesn’t look like being the saviour we’re all crying out for in the future.
We know the 26-year-old can play when he wants to and when used in a system or position that suits his ability. The tricky thing is, it’s hard putting your finger on what system or what position that is.
Then, when you consider the severe lack of squad depth on the left side of defence, selling a player who at least provides half-decent back up in that area doesn’t make any sense at all.
During his four years at the club, Masuaku has played as a left-back, left wing-back and left winger, neither of which he has really excelled at.
Many believe his best football is played in a more attacking role, but the reality is he offers good cover for all three of those positions over the course of a season – our record with injuries should all but demand we have adequate back up waiting in the wings at all times!
However, Masuaku, despite his quick feet, sporadic trickery and pace (he’s quick but not quick if you get what I’m saying) has failed to deliver in either role he’s played in claret and blue.
Indeed, he had that promising spell in the 2017/18 season when we all thought we’d uncovered the Congolose Gareth Bale, but that didn’t last long. It never does at West Ham.
The fact is, Masuaku is a good back up player when you need him but he cannot be relied upon to deliver anything other than the aforementioned tricky and quick feet. Both his attacking and defensive stats are incredibly underwhelming for someone whose nickname amongst the fans is ‘King’.
In four seasons, he has registered just six Premier League assists and has just one single goal to his name, coming against Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup.
In his league appearances, Masuaku has averaged less than 0.5 key passes and around 0.4 crosses per game which, for a player who is perceived to be “better going forward,” makes for incredibly morbid reading.
Defensively it has not been much better, but you probably already knew that. He’s dribbled past at least once on average every game and generally doesn’t look that comfortable running backwards. Where’s Roger Johnson when you need him?
So with all that in mind, can we afford to sell him this summer? Despite his obvious failings going forward and defensively, the obvious answer is no.
If we’re not going to reinvest and strengthen the squad, we’re going to need all the personnel we need in order to compete this season, regardless of their abilities.
Unless we’re going to bring in someone like Rico Henry, we simply cannot afford to part ways with Masuaku.
But if he does go, would we miss him? I would, but purely because I’ve always had a special place in my heart for him since that bit of skill he did against Spurs at Wembley.
I wouldn’t miss his performances and I don’t think the team would miss them either, not if we do what normal clubs do and replace an outgoing player with someone better.
But we’re not a normal club, are we? Until then, all hail King Arthur.