For the second consecutive season, West Ham have been denied a place in the Europa League group stage by the same opposition, Astra Giurgiu from Romania. After a 1-1 draw away at Romania, West Ham lost 0-1 to the Romanian side at the Olympic Stadium yesterday night. Europa League qualification was probably the biggest priority of the East London side and the fans will be utterly disappointed with the failure.
West Ham have been very active from the very start of the summer transfer window and Bilic is still working on bolstering the squad. The latest addition to the squad was done yesterday in form of 20-year-old Swiss midfielder Edimilson Fernandes. The Guardian reported that the fee involved to bring the Swiss midfielder from FC Sion was around £5.5m.
Fernandes joins the Hammers as their ninth signing this summer although the tenth one is also on the cards as Italian forward Simone Zaza looks all set for a medical ahead of his move to the Olympic Stadium. West Ham were short on numbers in the middle of the park with just four players who can play in central midfield. With Pedro Obiang attracting a substantial interest from abroad, things could have been worse for the East Londoners.
Fernandes offers Bilic the much-needed breathing space by offering depth to the squad. The Swiss under-21 international is primarily a central midfielder but can also play as a number ten. However, considering the number of options West Ham have in attacking midfield, the youngster is more likely to be seen as a cover for Noble, Kouyate and Nordtveit for now.
Just aged 20, Fernandes has an enormous potential and can be moulded into a complete central midfielder like Yaya Toure or Paul Pogba. With a frame of 6’3″, the youngster is a strong midfielder who excels in the air. The 20-year-old is an excellent dribbler and orchestrates pretty much everything you want a midfielder to do. A brilliant passer, be it long or short, someone who can create and score both, Fernandes has every ingredient to succeed in the Premier League.
With Fernandes, West Ham secured the signing of a highly promising player who can be a part of their project on the long run. It’s another shrewd deal from Slaven Bilic.