Fornals might not be the player we thought but can still be key

The Spaniard works his socks off for the team and has found a role under Moyes

It is already pretty clear that Jesse Lingard was an inspired loan signing during the recent transfer window, but to allow this deal to happen, we had to permanently sign Said Benrahma.  

But what of Said Benrahma? Since he joined in summer, he has not exactly set the world alight in a claret and blue shirt. 

Recently he has been unable to hold onto a permanent place in the starting eleven and is often a substitute although one that is regularly used. 

Worryingly Said’s transfer fee makes him the third most expensive West Ham player in our history and we all know that the first two, Haller and Anderson, didn’t exactly set the world alight either. 

So will the Algerian break the expensive player curse or will he be yet another player that ends up on the West Ham scrap heap?

It is clear that Benrahma’s record at his previous clubs is pretty impressive. His record of a goal every three games looks impressive. 

But a closer look shows that all were scored at a lower level than the Premier League. Said’s record stands out at Nice’s second team, Chateauroux, and at Brentford but he has never played at the highest level. 

He has also not managed to score for Algeria. At the half way point of the season, he has played in 17 games only appearing in 36% of games as a starter, and 39% of the total possible minutes offering no goals and just four assists. It’s not an impressive record. 

Is this Said still needing to acclimatise to the Premier League? Or is this a case of lack of minutes or simply him not fitting into David Moyes plans come game time?

One player that does seem to fit in with Moyes game day plans is Pablo Fornals who is the same age as Said and offers, in my eyes, a similar positional threat. 

Fornals has a very different background to Benrahma in that he has always, since 2015, played at a high level. 

He was not, however, a prolific goalscorer at Malaga and Villareal, netting just 16 times in 159 appearances. 

With Fornals coming from teams with a Pellegrini history, he may have been seen as yet another mistake. 

But when Moyes took over, he continued to excel. In his first season he appeared in a total of 40 games scoring four times but it was his overall play that impressed. 

This season he has started 80% of the time, scoring two goals with three assists so has continued to impress the manager. 

Against Manchester City recently, he was very impressive and was one of the players our very own Joe Cole felt stood out against the inevitable Premier League champions. 

If he could improve on his opportunities in front of goal he would be even better. 

I am a big Fornals fan, and that has nothing to do with the fact that he played for my favourite Spanish side, the yellow submarine, or that I got a photo with him last season. 

And so I think it is simply a case of Benrahma needing a season under his belt before he reaches the level we all expect.

It may also be that the signing of Jesse Lingard has not helped Said’s case. Initially Said was a starter with Lingard but has recently been a bit part player. 

Lingard has also impressed in every game. He is, of course, a Premier League veteran and so knows what is expected each and every game. 

It was also a seemingly odd decision that in our cup defeat it was Bowen that was chosen to lead the line rather than Said who may have been seen, with his goals per game average, as the ideal choice. 

Is it a case that Benrahma isn’t really a David Moyes type of player? It is clear that the hard work put in by Bowen and Fornals is seen as something that our manager loves to see. 

It feels now that it really is a case of make-or-break for Said. The jury is clearly out and I hope that he doesn’t go the way of a certain Sofiane Feghouli who lasted just one season before parting ways with the claret and blue. 

With every other David Moyes transfer dealing in his second stint with the club being exceptional, Benrahma seems to be the one that may not deliver. 

It will be interesting to see just how the player performs for the rest of the season. 

Moyes has shown previously that it is in the players’ hands to force their way into the team, one only has to look at Craig Dawson for that one, who has made himself undroppable.

Can Said do the same? Only time will tell.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.