Down the years West Ham United have brought several players who are the wrong side of their apex to Upton Park, and then the London Stadium, in the hope they can extract the final few years out of their elite career.
More often than not this has failed to yield significant results, with the likes of Samir Nasri and Javier Hernandez being recent examples who come to mind, arriving and quietly leaving within the space of a couple of seasons. This is precisely why David Moyes should steer well clear of free agent John Obi Mikel, who has been linked with a return to London.
The former Chelsea midfielder left Turkish side Trabzonspor when the Covid-19 pandemic caused a halt to most European football aside from the Super Lig at that time, refusing to play for fears of his safety.
Just a couple months later the 33-year-old Nigerian is now reportedly in talks to join West Ham. While Mikel may boast a vast wealth of top-flight experience after spending 11 years at Stamford Bridge, having since played in China, been released by Middlesbrough in the Championship and featured in Turkey, there is strong evidence to suggest Mikel’s best is considerably behind him.
David Sullivan and David Gold have not been particularly frugal in the last couple of seasons, but the shock of the financial implications of relegation should cause the duo to seriously consider how they invest their money into West Ham.
At present, two of the clubs’ top earners are reportedly Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere, taking home £115k and £100k-per-week respectively. The duo have featured a meager 21 times, 14 of which have been notched by the winger, combined in the top-flight this term due to recurring injuries, via WhoScored.
The Ukrainian forward can at least lay claim to having made an impact when he’s featured, scoring four while assisting once, but Wilshere’s impact this term has been negligible at best, with just 199 minutes in the Premier League, as per WhoScored.
So far this term, Mikel has missed 38 days of action with three injuries himself, but that should not be Moyes’ primary concern. The Nigerian operates as a holding midfielder and with Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek currently excelling in that role, and veteran Mark Noble deputising behind them, Mikel could slow the progress of what is a blossoming midfield partnership.
Other than his substantial experience there does not appear to be much West Ham could gain from the arrival of Mikel, even if he is available on a free transfer. There is a severe risk the ex-Chelsea midfielder could end up alongside Carlos Sanchez, who after securing a healthy pay packet of £50k-a-week without offering any substantial on-field influence, left the club last month just two years after arriving.