West Ham (13th, 42 points) avoided implosion last season after their fans invaded the pitch in protest near the end of the season. The boardroom proved they were listening by spending nearly $100M this summer. So, how will the Hammers fair?
- Felipe Anderson — 25 — Right Winger — Lazio — $39.4M
- Issa Diop — 21 — Center Back — Toulouse — $25.9M
- Andriy Yarmolenko — 28 — Right Winger — Borussia Dortmund — $20.7M
- Lukasz Fabianski — 33 — Goalkeeper — Swansea — $8.3M
- Lucas Perez — 29 — Center Forward — Arsenal — $4.6M
- Fabian Balbuena — 26 — Center Back — Corinthians — $4.1M
- Ryan Fredericks — 25 — Rightback — Fulham — Free
- Jack Wilshere — 26 — Center Midfielder — Arsenal — Free
- Cheikhou Kouyate — 28 — Defensive Midfielder — Crystal Palace — $11.1M
- Reece Burke — 21 — Center Back — Hull City — $1.7M
- Domingos Quina — 18 — Central Midfielder — Watford — $1.1M
- Jordan Hugill — 26 — Center Forward — Middlesbrough — Loan
- Sead Haksabanovic — 19 — Left Wing — Malaga — Loan
- James Collins — 34 — Center Back — No Club
- Joao Mario — 25 — Attacking Midfielder — Back to Inter Malan
Oh boy, did West Ham finally start spending money like they want a first class trip to the Euro League. The Hammers spent around $86 million for Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko alone, and broke their transfer fee record twice with the subsequent signings of center back Diop and winger Anderson.
Anderson and Yarmolenko join the attacking trio of Marko Arnautovic, Chicharito and Andy Carroll. That trio combined for 22 goals last season. With signees joining an already crowded front line, surely one of the three returning attackers will likely fall out of the squad and likely leave West London in January.
The Hammers also return Argentine attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini who scored five and assisted another six last season. It will be interesting to see where he fits this season under Pellegrini, but his attacking ability is another bonus for West Ham’s chances.
In maybe the biggest win for West Ham this summer, the fans won’t have anything to cry about like last year. With the amount of spending this summer, supporters will have no reason to invade the pitch and protest.
Get your bubbles out, Hammers, and start blowing.
When Will Your Manager Be Fired
Manuel Pellegrini. Look at this guy’s history: Manchester City, Villarreal, Real Madrid, etc. Holy sh-t how is he the manager at West Ham? He may look ancient (he’s actually 64), but the Hammers are hoping he still has magic on his chalkboard.
The challenge for former Premier League champion Pellegrini will come early this season with how he fits the new signings on the team sheet without ticking off loyal servants like Mark Noble, Arnautovic and Pablo Zabaleta.
It could get bumpy early. West Ham play Chelsea and Manchester back-to-back in September before welcoming Brighton and Tottenham. If Pellegrini can dodge early obstacles, he and West Ham will have a smooth season near the top half of the table.
Which Player Will A Bigger Club Poach?
Felipe Anderson is coming to West Ham with a history of Manchester United and Chelsea buzzing with interest. The 25-year-old Brazilian right winger has thrived on the outside. He also brings his technical skills and dribbling ability to the center of the pitch and can drive the ball forward.
Anderson registered 177 appearances for Italian side Lazio, scoring 34 goals and connecting for 43 assists. Last year, he missed a good chunk of Lazio’s season due to an abdominal tear but made his way back in time for the Europa League knockout stage. Lazio was knocked out in the quarterfinal by RB Salzburg as Anderson appeared off the bench for both matches.
If Anderson can prove the hype in the Premier League, he could be on the move again soon.
Unknown to Household
Another new signing I want to point out is a new center back Issa Diop from Toulouse. The 21-year-old is super, super long and not shy from putting in a tackle.
For his young age, it’s surprising to see that Diop has already registered three full seasons in the Ligue 1. He made 85 appearances for Toulouse and averaged more than two interceptions and four clearances per match.
It’s hard to see where Diop will fit to begin the season for West Ham, but Pellegrini will be anxious to make it work after spending $25.9M on him this summer.
6/1 – Better than Palace and Newcastle, but worse than Southampton and Wolves.