For all West Ham United’s fantastic transfer business this summer, the team failed to provide manager Manuel Pellegrini with enough depth on the wings.
Andrew Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson have been big hits since joining from Borussia Dortmund and Lazio in the off season, but Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio are not adequate cover behind them.
For that reason the club will be kicking themselves for missing out on Lille’s sensational wideman Jonathan Bamba, who they were heavily linked with earlier this year.
The Hammers wanted the 22-year-old to sign a pre contract agreement before his Saint-Etienne deal expired at the end of last season, however no deal was reached and he went on to join French giants Lille.
Since moving to Christophe Galtier’s side he has been in phenomenal form, scoring seven goals in nine games this term. Bamba is a winger not a striker, making that tally all the more remarkable.
He would have been the perfect player to bring off the bench with West Ham struggling to break Brighton down on Friday night. Instead, Snodgrass and Antonio had to suffice.
The pair aren’t bad players, in fact they’re decent Premier League operators, but neither man is what you could call prolific. They certainly don’t have Bamba’s eye for goal, that’s for sure.
The 5ft 8in Frenchman [Source: Transfermarkt] is an exciting player, capable of getting the crowd off their feet. He would have been the ideal alternative to Yarmolenko and Anderson.
There’s no sense of why the club’s pursuit of the player came to nothing, but his subsequent success at Lille is making the Hammers’ failure to sign him seem like a massive blunder. He would’ve been a free signing so surely it wasn’t a contract issue – you’re getting him for free just pay him what he wants!
Certainly the club will now be looking at Bamba as an opportunity missed, and one that could come back to haunt them a few times over the season if the Brighton game is anything to go by.