Today, West Ham finally completed one of the biggest signings in its history.
Although some may not have heard of Dimitri Payet before this seemingly endless transfer saga, he has been one of the stand-out creative midfielders in European football for the past few years and was in red-hot form for Marseille last season.
David Sullivan is completely right, if Payet was 22 he would have had the world’s best clubs at his doorstep by now.
The fact that he’s 28 should not put fans off, West Ham have not had a player of Payet’s creative quality in a very long time and it certainly represents a step in the right direction.
It now means that West Ham’s summer recruitment is really starting to gather momentum. It started with Randolph who was more of a squad option rather than a real, ‘marquee’ capture. Signing Obiang was certainly something to get excited about due to his promising reputation and the fact that the Hammers needed further strength in midfield. It is, however, the capture of Payet that has really set the ball rolling and certainly delivers a statement of intent from the club.
Many fans will be wondering what is going to happen next. Slowly but surely, a real nucleus of quality players are starting to develop at the club and with another midfielder and a striker, the spine of the team will look very strong.
Alex Song looks set to be that midfielder. If the Hammers can get him in on a free that means that the budget can be spent elsewhere, possibly on a striker or a centre-back. The club have been linked with Monaco’s Aymen Abdennour, an incredibly strong, no-nonsense Tunisian centre-back that has attracted interest from a number of Europe’s top clubs. At just 25-years-old, he certainly has his best years ahead of him and he has solid European experience due to his efforts for Monaco in the Champions League last season.
Although another centre-back would be a wise move, the priority at the moment must be signing Jenkinson for another year. The club are in need of a right-back as Joey O’Brien is currently the only recognisable right-sided defender at West Ham. New signing Stephen Hendrie is a full-back but he has played predominantly on the left side in his career so West Ham will want to get Jenkinson back at Upton Park considering the impact he made last season.
It looks as if West Ham are fully focused on getting players in rather than selling so far in this window and that certainly seems like the correct approach at the moment. There is, however, interest from Sunderland regarding Stewart Downing. The former Liverpool man turns 31 next month and if a rumoured offer of around £7 million comes in for him, the club may be tempted to sell and reinvest that money in a move for a younger attacking midfielder.
It would also be an excellent fee for a player who is entering the latter stages of his career and may be forced to play second-fiddle to Payet next season. Having said that, West Ham will be cautious of letting Downing go when they are lacking creative midfielders already and Downing did impress last term.
It looks as if things are about to get really busy at The Boleyn Ground and the fact that Payet has actually signed provides a much welcomed boost to the club’s transfer plans this summer. It’ll certainly be intriguing to see who the club move for next.
Who should West Ham sign next? What positions are in need of strengthening? Comment below