A world class team in a world class stadium – we all heard it and there are many opinions on the stadium and squad that the move to the London Stadium was sold based on.
I don’t want to go through all the issues on the stadium but I would like to review the squad that finished the season at Upton park compared to the current squad.
We have had 3 complete transfer windows and are now in our 4th, so surely enough time to be well on the way to the ‘next level’ and ‘world class team’?
Firstly, in the shambles of transfer windows that is West Ham, a number of players have come and gone already within the 3 windows.
For my exercise of comparing the squad now against the last Upton Park squad, I have disregarded these.
For the record these are loans, ZaZa, Arbeloa, Tore & Calleri
Plus signings Nordveit, Feghouli, Snodgrass, & Fletcher
This is itself shows how bad our recruitment has been with players coming and going so quick.
But on to the difference between Upton Park and the position now.
I have excluded some youth players unless they have had an impact.
Most people would have seen this as an improvement when Hart came in but it hasn’t worked out that way with Adrian currently back as the No1 and an unhappy Hart on the bench with plenty of rumours that he will move on during January. If so we will be looking for a backup keeper as good as Randolph otherwise we have gone backwards with keepers.
Constant: Reid, Cresswell, Collins, Ogbonna, Byram
Out: Tomkins, O’Brien
InZabaleta, Fonte, Masuaku
Zabaleta has to be a better player than O’brien although probably not looking as good now as it looked when he signed.
But Tomkins V Fonte is a lot closer for me and I would probably prefer to have Tomkins in the squad with his ability to play right back.
Masuaku has plenty of work to do on his delivery but very good potential. Whether we class him as a defender or midfielder probably needs to be found out during the remainder of this season depending of what system we play.
Constant: Noble, Obiang, Kouyate, Lanzini, Antonio
In: Fernandes, Arnautovic
For me whatever we all think of Payet and the way he left, he was a world class player during the last season at Upton Park.
Arnautovic has been our best signing of the summer and has the potential to be an excellent player with us for a few years.
We also used Moses and Song during the 2015-16 season but didn’t finish the season with us.
Constant: Carroll, Sakho
In: Hernandez, Ayew
On paper this area definitely improved especially with the introduction of Hernandez this season and adding Ayew last season.
However, we have not as yet got the best from Hernandez and his future also now looks in doubt along with Ayew after we tried for years to get our Marquee striker.
Should we build the side around him?
Do we play the right tactics to get the best from him?
Should we have another very good striker to go along with Hernadez?
As I said, youth players have not been included but I do need to mention Rice as I see him as big part of the current squad and one of few highlights of this season.
So overall has the squad improved – You can answer yourself.
For me On paper – probably Yes although it does not feel like it.
By the amount we were promised as part of the move.
– Not for me, no where near the squad I expected to see after 3 windows and it could be argued that we have fallen further behind a number of teams since Upton Park by not invested to the level most fans expected.
I would also argue that the first window before the move was so important and finished as a total let down.
And what about the ‘World Class Team’ – No
In fact, arguably we lost out only world class player in Payet.
We have I believe 2 very good players that could be world class in Lanzini and Arnautovic
I have heard it takes time but looking how unprofessional our recruitment and planning looks in the short term, I have no faith that under the current structure we will move on year on year. This is showed on the amount of short term in & outs there has been or rumoured during this window.
Let’s hope we are all surprised and the board get their act together but I don’t have much faith.