Aaron Cresswell’s shocker in West Ham’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday proves that Manuel Pellegrini should have signed Olympiakos left-back Leonardo Koutris in the summer transfer window.
Reliable Hammers news website Claret & Hugh reported in April that Greece international Koutris, 24, could have moved to the London Stadium in a £10million switch in the summer but the Irons opted to stick with their options of Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku at left-back.
While Masuaku was handed a new contract at the London Stadium after a run of good displays in the second half of last season, Cresswell was widely rubbished by fans on Twitter and many had hoped that he would be replaced by Pellegrini before the transfer window closed on Thursday.
It was clear on Saturday that putting faith in the former Ipswich left-back was a mistake.
According to stats by WhoScored, Cresswell completed just 76.7 per cent of his passes, made only one tackle and was dribbled past on one occasion by the Man City attack.
There were also concerns about his lack of work-rate when the City goals kept flowing.
As seen in this clip, Cresswell just did not have it in him to bust a gut to track back and stop Pep Guardiola’s side scoring a late goal.
Man City’s fifth goal looks like when you move your keeper on fifa and the opponent reads it completely pic.twitter.com/oF4fHATILL
— luigimatolini (@luisdmatoso) August 10, 2019
It was an abysmal performance by most of West Ham’s players but Cresswell’s display is something that has become all too familiar for supporters and when Koutris could have been signed up in the summer, it has to be seen as a mistake by Pellegrini.
Koutris impressed for Olympiakos last season, especially when he played in the Europa League.
WhoScored reports that the Brazil-born left-back completed 91.3 per cent of his passes and averaged 2.3 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 3.7 clearances in his three European appearances, two of which coming against Italian giants AC Milan.
Although it is impossible to tell how Koutris would adapt to life in the Premier League until that move actually happens, those stats suggest that he was at least worth taking a gamble on to see if he can be an upgrade on Cresswell.
Masuaku will hopefully start against Brighton next week and Cresswell drops back onto the bench or even out of the squad altogether after such a woeful outing.
It’s just a shame that area of the squad, which was a clear weak point last year, was not bolstered by the Irons hierarchy.