West Ham United have made one major signing and have another on the way, as they demonstrate the kind of ambition that has been expected of them all summer.
Having been linked with moves for Theo Walcott, Kelechi Iheanacho and Olivier Giroud, they ultimately moved to bring in two new attacking players—but not (yet?) any of the aforementioned trio.
The latter deal, in particular, is pretty eye opening.
Arnautovic is talented, no doubt, and has demonstrated his class in the Premier League. However, his return of six goals and five goals last term means he’s a cut or two below the division’s best widemen.
A fee of £24.5 million, a five-year deal and a £130,000-per-week salary seem astronomical for a 28-year-old, but it’s further evidence that the Irons are desperate for success, and that they want it now!
Arnautovic and Chicharito join an already congested attacking roster of talent at the London Stadium, where Slaven Bilic will surely need to cut a few players loose ahead of the new season.
One name seemingly destined for the exit door is Sofiane Feghouli, who has been linked with a return to French football—and Stade Rennais—while there’s also been interest from Turkey.
However, what does this heavyweight double-signing mean for Andre Ayew?
The Ghana international demonstrated his class in patches for the East Londoners last term, but it wasn’t a triumphant maiden campaign in the capital by any stretch of the imagination.
Initially, there was the injury that he suffered on his debut against Chelsea, a setback which ultimately saw him miss most of the first half of the campaign.
Then, there was the broader context at West Ham, where the club’s switch to a new stadium—and area of London—and the struggle to build on the progress of the 2015-16 campaign, threatened to allow a malaise to set in.
Despite this, Dede ended the campaign with six goals and three assists—considering he managed half as many league starts as Arnautovic, it’s a decent return when compared against a player who may rival him for a spot on the right flank this campaign.
The signing of Robert Snodgrass, who arrived in January, represents further competition for the attacker in a no. 10, while Chicharito means that Dede’s unlikely to have to deputise for an injured Andy Carroll as much as he did last term.
As things stand, Ayew’s form last term—injury considering—means that he will be allowed another campaign to realise his true potential next term.
With an unbroken campaign—without the interruption of an Africa Cup of Nations—he should have the class to settle and establish himself.
However, the Hammers are an ambitious beast these days, and they’ve demonstrated that they’re willing to splash cash at a problem if things aren’t working out.
Recently, West Bromwich Albion have reportedly declared their interest in the Ghana international. The move would represent a step down for the 27-year-old, even if the Baggies finished one place higher in the table last season.
However, Dede is unlikely to have a shortage of suitors if the Hammers decide that he cannot match their ambition