Could a spoonful of Dinos be the medicine for any defence woes?

Our new Greek centre back had injury troubles at Arsenal but was loved by Stuttgart fans

Post-match sun setting at the West Ham United v Manchester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th September, 2023.

We’ve used every pound of Declan Rice’s transfer fee with David Moyes signing players for every midfield position. With this blitz of exciting midfielders, it’s a wonder that fans haven’t missed the signing of former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Although with a name like his, it would be hard to miss his arrival and in true West Ham fashion, one of the suggested chants for our Greek centre back has caught my eye. It goes: ‘It’s KostantinosMavropanosexpialidocious; Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious; If you sing it loud enough he really is ferocious; KostantinosMavropanosexpialidocious.’

Perhaps this tongue-in-cheek chant will help us all remember how to pronounce his name when he makes a last ditch tackle to avoid a certain goal. As if Kontantinos wasn’t aware of the multie-syllabic tongue twister his patronym creates, he stated in his announcement video that his nickname is ‘Dinos’ to set the record straight and give us fans a bit of relief.

Although the former Stuttgart defender may have slipped under some fans’ radars, it should be noted that Mavropanos is no small signing. This transfer has all the drippings of our new director of football Tim Steidten. It’s under the radar, from the German league and a mix of pedigree and potential.

Stiedten’s scouting has found ‘Dinos’ has not only been hailed as a fan favourite for Budesliga’s Stuttgart but also capped for Greece’s international team, and played for Arsenal for a brief spell. Stuttgart fans took to social media to wish ‘Dinos’ well on his new journey with one fan, Kurpfälzerle Karone, posting: “Will definitely miss the Greek buffalo herd. thanks Dinos – Always given everything.’

Meanwhile Uwe Schikora posted: ‘Farewell Dinos, you were a machine we will miss you.’ All fan postings on his departure announcement praised his endless energy, his fighting for ‘the band on the shirt’ and being a wall in the rearguard.

After playing 89 matches for Stuttgart, one fan has even called him a ‘figurehead’ of the team and was wondering where his replacement would come from. These comments mixed with fans complaining about having no money in their transfer bank and the owners investing in leather seats instead of players seemed a fond, but fitting farewell in the football world.

Under the radar and from the Bundesliga checks the box for Steidten, endless energy checks Moyes’ box, but what can fans expect from ‘Dinos’ besides yielding banter-based fan chants, and the escape from a Harry Maguire transfer? ‘Dinos’ is capable of playing easily in a back four or back five on the right side with Moyes interested in deploying both systems.

He’s a potential backup for Coufal, as we lacked a new signing specific to that position. At 6’4″, he’s taller than both Zouma and Kehrer, and also has a higher aerial duel rate than Zouma winning 72.1% aerial duels in 90 minutes, which ranks him 95th in defenders across the top five European leagues. Along with his endless energy and aggressiveness, ‘Dinos’ is known to run with the ball and have bursting runs into the midfield with the ball, as well as a decent passing rate.

West Ham fans who like some flair should love the moments of attack from this solid defender. Most importantly Stuttgart’s style is similar to West Ham’s as they tend to play on the counter with a low block.

The main worry fans may have with ‘Dinos’ are possible fears of injury. His time was cut short at Arsenal due to groin injuries where he only made seven appearances in two years. Arriving from Stuttgart with a few pre-existing but small injuries, Blowing Bubbles writer Robert Banks composed an alternate chant: ‘He’s big. He’s Greek, He’s injured every week…’.

But ‘Dinos’ only missed four games from injury last season, and Moyes didn’t seem to be worried about it in press conferences. After four games into the new season without a loss, Moyes won’t be desperate to get ‘Dinos’ into the first team, but it’s good that we have a new 25-year-old centre back who will fit Moyes’ system to hopefully replace the ageing Ogbonna, or sub in for Zouma when he gets injured.

I think fans can feel supercalifragilistic about this signing, if only for the fact that we can sing that chant and rile up opposition with our endless banter.

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