David Moyes’ comments about having to bed people in when asked about our August form made it sound like it’s a bad thing.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be an albatross around his neck. Instead, the new players could be a joyous flock of seagulls helping us soar through the air – if only we could just get them off the bench. These new players could be an asset, rather than a liability.
In fact, we have had a remarkably good summer transfer window, signing both up-and-coming players with strong potential, and proven players with a great pedigree. The trouble is, we’ve barely seen hide nor hair of these exciting new signings, leaning instead on worn out formations and players who seem out of ideas and out of energy.
So what do we know about these people Moyes is busy bedding in, and have we seen enough of them to know what they can bring in claret and blue this year?
So far the person who’s seen the most of Aguerd is his surgeon. Aguerd injured his ankle in a pre-season friendly and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. While the club haven’t put a time-frame on his recovery, it could be months before he’s able to take to the pitch and show Hammers fans what he’s made of.
The young and sprightly midfielder has a lot of Noble about him. He embodies him most when thinking about Nobes’s last season for the club, when he spent most of his time on the bench. Downes has only seen a few minutes of Premier League action, when he came on for Bowen against City in the dying moment of the match – emphasis on dying. He’s played roughly 35 minutes in Europe across the two games against Viborg, but it’s just not been enough yet to get a strong sense of the player and what he can bring to the side.
We signed the 25-year-old Ivory Coast international from Burnley on a five-year contract. The versatile player can play as a left winger, wing-back or full-back – and with our threadbare squad, he’ll probably end up needing to play in all three positions.
Cornet is a stunning signing (also, it’s pronounced Cor-naaaay, dear). He’s lively, creative and enigmatic and certain to score goals – except for one teeny little thing. He can’t seem to get off the bench in the Premier League.
He’s played all of roughly 30 minutes so far in West Ham’s three terrible opening games. He’s gotten well off the mark in Europe, however, having played 90 minutes against Viborg and securing himself an assist in both the home and the away games.
He’s yet to score in the league, but then so is every other player in the Hammers team – so what do we have to lose by giving him a proper shot in the team?
You can tell this signing knows how to score in Europe, as since signing for us he’s been doing just that – scoring in Europe. The Italian forward nabbed goals in both home and away games against Viborg and made it look easy to do so.
Out of all the new players, he’s had the most time on the pitch in the league – and has looked clever and lively during that time. The issue is the damage has largely been done by the time he gets near the pitch.
Against City, he came on for Antonio in the 57th minute, but the damage was done just eight minutes later when City scored for a second time. Against Forrest, he replaced Antonio in the 68th minute; against Brighton he came on in the 62nd minute.
When he comes on, he seems to make an impact – and if we’re being blunt, there is no player we need on the pitch right now more than him.
The lifeless, lumbering ghost of Antonio should not be keeping him out of the side. There is simply no way that this man is less match-fit than Antonio. It wouldn’t be possible. It simply cannot be the case. Just put him in – it’s not like we’ll score less goals than we’re scoring while he’s on the bench.
He is the latest of West Ham’s illustrious signings, and it’s hard to imagine having made a worse league debut than his against Brighton. In fairness to Kehrer, it was Zouma whose mistake forced Kehrer down the pitch to give away a penalty, but it wasn’t the dream debut he likely had in mind.
He did far better against Viborg, playing 90 minutes and helping to keep a clean sheet in West Ham’s away European fixture. He’s likely to be an instant permanent feature in the squad, given the injury to Dawson, so he should be getting plenty of minutes to prove his worth to West Ham.