After less than a week of negotiations, Pablo Fornals was yesterday confirmed as a West Ham United player, but what does this transfer mean for the club?

The 23-year-old Spanish international joined the Hammers from La Liga side Villarreal on a five-year contract, courtesy of West Ham’s director of football Mario Husillos, who Fornals previously worked under at Malaga.

So, with paper’s signed and pre-season just around the corner, what can we expect to see from the Spaniard?


1. Creativity through the middle

One thing that our midfield lacked last season was creativity. With the impressive Declan Rice shielding the defence, two other midfielders were often given the duty of adding a creative spark to supply the front three, but too often came unstuck.

Manuel Pellegrini’s most used pair to accompany Rice was Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass, and both registered five assists throughout the season. However, Felipe Anderson was often burdened with the pressure of being the main creator, which restricted West Ham’s path to goal when things didn’t work out.

Fornals has proven to be a success in this regard and here are some stats to back that up.

In the 2017/18 La Liga season, the Spaniard registered 12 assists, joint top with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Pablo Fornals’ 17/18 stats

Last season proved to be more of a struggle for Fornals and Villarreal as they battled relegation, but he still created 22 chances from open play in the Europa League, the second most in the competition.


2. A key to beautiful football

We saw the makings of a beautiful football team last season under Manuel Pellegrini’s – his first in charge of the club.

With the arrival of Fornals, it gives the West Ham fanbase hope that this attacking style of football Pellegrini likes will only progress, as he teams up with Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic – not to mention potential new signings and the return of Andriy Yarmolenko.

The link-up between the aforementioned players will hopefully be getting the Hammers’ faithful off their seats in the coming season.


3. Youthfulness.

At 23-years-old, Fornals joins the likes of Rice and Issa Diop as excellent young talents at the club; all looking to improve even further with another season of Premier League football under their belts.

The youth balances out well with the more experienced members of the squad, such as Noble and Arnautovic – who are both old and wise enough to take responsibility in the team when the going gets tough.

Pellegrini and Husillos know what they are doing in targeting a younger demographic of player, and with the likes of Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez strongly linked to the club, that theme remains consistent.


4. Flair

The Spaniard brings exuberance and flair – two qualities which he demonstrated in abundance during his spells at Malaga and Villarreal.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague described Fornals as “In the mould of an FC Barcelona midfielder” and “Genius in the pass, drives the ball with quality”.

A quick search on YouTube of a compilation of this quickly illustrates his qualities, too.


5. A tone for the rest of the summer transfer window.

With two and a half months of the transfer window still to go, it leaves the club in great shape to identify their targets and quietly do their best to get them.

There wasn’t much exposure or media coverage of the Fornals transfer, which highlights the club are going about their business in the right way – a stark comparison to previous years.

What this transfer does is send a message to West Ham fans to remain patient and trust in what Husillos and Pellegrini are doing for this football club.

By Louis Pye (@lou_pye)


By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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