West Ham, for too long, have been in the shadows of their well-off neighbours from London. The academy of English football, held utmost respect in the spheres of the game, has long since lost its gloss and standing. Seen mostly as grafters and try-hards, than actual competitors, a change was needed and a change is exactly what they are going through, under the stewardship of the shrewd Slaven Bilic.
Acquiring the Olimpic stadium was one step forward off the pitch, however, it will be signings, the players on it, who will ultimately shape the foreseeable future and destiny of the club founded between the Hammersmith and City and District lines – and that’s where the Croat has looked to establish his legacy with the sensational transfer dealings of this season, that has made the bigger clubs sit up and take note. T4O has a closer look.
West Ham – Star Arrivals
Andre Ayew – Swansea, £20.5m
Manuel Lanzini – Al Jazira Club, £9.4m
Havard Nordtveit – Borussia Monchengladbach, free
Sofiane Feghouli – Valencia, free
Simone Zaza – Juventus, loan
Alvaro Arbeloa – Real Madrid, free
Gokhan Tore, Besiktas, loan
West Ham – Noteworthy Departures
James Tomkins – Crystal Palace, £10m
Martin Samuelsen – Blackburn, loan
Enner Valencia – Everton, loan
What West Ham Have Bought
Quality, quality, and more quality in depth. Bilic and his recruitment team are stars, to be able to turn heads of some of the highly-sought talents who turned down better offers from more distinguished clubs across Europe. The sparkling Manuel Lanzini’s rights were outrightly and rightly procured by the Hammers, which will give the youngster a shot in the arm. Gokhan Tore of Besiktas, a winger Bilic long admired, having had a glimpse of his talents while working in the Turkish league, finds his way to London to impress his manager yet again. Former Arsenal graduate, stylish defensive-midfielder, Havard Nordtveit of Borussia Monchengladbach, was being courted by a number of clubs around the Bundesliga.
It’s not just the youngsters that were brought in – seasoned professionals and established stars were also shipped in to provide steel and experience in equal measure. World Cup winner, and 2 times Champions League winner, former Liverpool right-back, Alvaro Arbeloa arrives with his wizened head full of winning mentality and resilience. Andre Ayew from Swansea guarantees proven Premier League quality, and a ready frequency of goals and assists. Sofiane Feghouli, the right-winger from the sunny shores of Valencia, is one for the tight games, where spaces are at a premium to run in behind – his trickery and cleverness would carve out opportunities. Juventus’ Simone Zaza is another one who is used to the habit of winning, and would inculcate his directness and determination into the West Ham line-up when called upon.