Who are ya?
Give Me Sport and German newspaper Bild are both reporting that West Ham United have shown an interest in FSV Mainz 05 star and Japan International Shinji Okazaki.
Mainz are currently in fifth place in the Bundesliga, and 28 year old striker Okazaki has contributed strongly to their high position having scored five goals in seven games already this season. It’s good, but he’s not quite Diafra Sakho, is he?
Okazaki has also scored quite a few goals at international level, including consecutive hat tricks in games against Hong Kong and Togo in 2009—and you may remember him from World Cup 2014, when he scored Japan’s only goal in a 4-1 defeat to Colombia. He is currently Japan’s third-highest goalscorer of all-time.
He’s still no Diafra Sakho, though.
Big Sam, spend some money!
According to the source, the player is valued at £4.3 million and Mainz would be prepared to listen to offers for £6 – 8 million, which seems like a pretty sweet deal for Mainz when you think about it.
Well, as a top Premier League football team, you could see why players of his calibre would be interested in us. Okazaki has a high passing success rate, and is certainly banging in the goals at the moment, making him a prime candidate for an interested team.
But are West Ham really an interested team? For the first time in years, the Hammers don’t seem to be struggling for goals. New signing Diafra Sakho has six to his name from six games (be still my beating heart), Enner Valencia has two, and even Carlton Cole has got himself on the scoresheet on more than one occasion this season. Not to mention that we still have £15 million club record signing striker and Vogue model Andy Carroll to come back from injury, and another option in another West Ham striker who has scored, Mauro Zarate.
Sure, injuries are our kryptonite, but do we need much further depth in squad? I can’t see Okazaki getting a starting position over Sakho, Valenica, or Carroll (even Carlton has earned his time on the pitch lately, and as long as he’s scoring, there isn’t a good argument to drop him) – so why would Okazaki want to leave regular first team football to sit on the bench in England?
He wouldn’t be a detriment to the Hammers side, but I don’t think he’d be the wisest use of that amount of money. At the time of writing, our attacking options are good. We’ve got decent depth in the squad, and once Carroll is fit again (will he be fit again?) the competition we’ll have for a starting position will be incredible. My slight concerns with the squad lie more in defense; if there’s any money to be splashed around I’d like to see it devoted to a centre-back. I have nothing against James Collins, James Tomkins and Winston Reid, but year after year the position is blighted by injury and lest we forget Roger Johnson running backwards from Yaya Toure.
Okazaki certainly sounds like a good player, but I’m not sure he’s the missing piece we need right now. I’d rather strengthen from the back than add another name to the list of forwards who might struggle to get playing time, and also, well, he’s no Diafra Sakho.