We’ve splashed the cash but did we spend wisely this summer?

Holly Worthington asks if spending big will equal success for West Ham this season?

Gianluca Scamacca (WHU) at the Aston Villa v West Ham United EPL match, at Villa Park, Birmingham, UK on August 28, 2022.

West Ham had the third biggest net spend in the Premier League during the summer transfer window. We spent £164m and made sales of £16m, which resulted in a net spend of £148m. But what does this mean and how is this different to times where we’ve previously bought players?

The only two Premier League teams with a higher net spend were Chelsea, with £206m and Manchester United with a net spend of £206m. Compared to these two clubs, we’ve taken a different approach. Looking at their business, both have done well in strengthening their teams, but have also paid relatively high prices for key players.

United bought Anthony for £86million, Martinez for just under £60million and Casemiro for £70million. Similarly, Chelsea have paid high prices of £60million for Cucurella, £47million for Sterling and £75million for Fofana.

Our spend has been lower per player, as Paqueta has reportedly cost us £51.3million including add-ons, with our next most expensive signing being Scamacca for £35.5million. But it doesn’t all rely on high net spend. In my opinion, Man City’s approach is going to make them even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Make a profit

Man City took advantage of Haaland’s release clause to sign him for just £51million and as we’ve seen, he appears to be the missing puzzle piece for them, alongside selling Raheem Sterling to Chelsea and some good scouting to bring Julian Alvarez in, keeping their net spend low. Something that City have done which West Ham would have previously struggled to do is make a profit on players and replace them with stronger players.

Now, we find ourselves in a position where we could make a lot of money from the sale of Rice in the years to come, or even Bowen if he can unlock the same form as last season.  In addition to this, if our new signings can find great form, we could make significant profit that could then be reinvested.  

As an example, Scamacca is 23 years old and should he become a clinical striker, which does look possible at the moment, he could be sold to some of the biggest clubs for serious money in the future. My hope is that if we can continue to improve in the coming years, it will no longer be a question of ‘when’ our best players will leave, but instead, who we will bring in to support them.

Our approach of going for a larger number of middle priced players was what we needed to do in my opinion. We had a small squad and needed to add quantity as well as quality, especially with the addition of the new rule that you can have five substitutions in the Premier League.

Strong bench

I feel we’ve achieved what we needed to, giving us options and a strong bench. You only have to look at our Conference League games to see that we are now able to switch it up and it looks as though this will stop Moyes being as reluctant to make earlier changes in games. From what we’ve seen of the new players, they all look as though they will strengthen our side enormously, with many of them already starting games.

Having signed eight players, it was always going to be a tremendous challenge to get everybody playing together, but the signs are there that we could be onto something special. Whereas previous transfer windows have seen us spend significant sums of money on single players, such as Haller and Anderson who failed to fit into the team, I believe this time is different.

We had got into a cycle of investing in players without any sense of how they would play within our structure, then watching them fail to hit the ground running and before long, change manager. This circle set us up for failure, but also made it a lot harder to justify spending when we got next to no return on most signings.

Broken the cycle

I hope that we have now broken this cycle. Having Moyes as a long-term manager and now Head of Recruitment, Rob Newman, we have more of a structure in place to find suitable players, help them settle in and give them the greatest chance of succeeding.

While Moyes has been very particular about the players he’s brought in, which resulted in us failing to sign a striker for a long time, it seems we were biding our time to find the right players, which I hope will be worth it. Our spend this transfer window has been a real statement of intent and was exactly what we needed to do if we aim to succeed in Europe and regularly finish towards the top of the Premier League.

That said, as we know all too well, regardless of the name or price of a player, it all depends on how well they can actually perform in your team. Now the real hard work begins, working out how to get the most out of our players, so we can continue to invest and have a bright future.

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