Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
I think that West Ham fans are in for a good year with this incoming transfer group. I don’t think it would be a substantial stretch to say they qualify for some Continental Competition, most likely it’ll be Europa League but they haven’t been involved in any for a good, long time. The Hammers have been very judicious with keeping their wage budgets in check (see Premier League Primer: 2018-2019 Edition for more information) and trying to grow their turnover numbers. I expect that the wage bill ratio will rise pretty substantially with the amount and quality of signings they are bringing in, I think that they will be able to sustain it.
As I mentioned in the primer, I’m very excited to see how this club shakes out — I don’t know the last time I’ve been this excited for a non-Big Six squad. I could see this side causing some major upsets and finishing with a Europa League birth. I also think (forecasting a little extra) that if they make the Europa League they should be able to make a deep run — maybe even win based on the recent level of competition I’ve seen there. The club management has secured young(er) players on relatively long-term contracts and I expect this side to improve by leaps and bounds from where they were last year.
- Felipe Anderson ($42M from Lazio) – Anderson will provide a couple of major benefits to this side. First and foremost, he will provide something this side hasn’t been able to consistently find — goals. He’s made 137 appearances for Lazio in Serie A, where he’s scored 25 goals and added 33 assists all while averaging a shade under 64′ minutes per appearance. If he’s playing the full 90 most of the time — as I expect he will — he should improve markedly. I think he’ll at minimum hit 10 goals for the Hammers (and probably assist even more than he scores), but i could see a 15-20 goal season depending on how he gets on with the rest of the team.
- Issa Diop ($27.5M from Toulouse) – West Ham really struggled last year to keep goals out of the net, they finished with a -20 goal difference. I think that Diop is a big improvement over anyone they have in the back at this time, and he will also assist in their dealings with the injuries they have in the back line. Diop should fit right in and provide a quality increase right away, I expect him to feature most every match.
- Andriy Yarmolenko ($22M from Borussia Dortmund) – Yarmolenko wil provide some additional strike power up front which should help WHU. Chicharito provided 8 goals, despite only averaging about 50′ per match, which was second on the team behind Marko Arnautovic. I think that Yarmonlenko is coming in to provide support on the right attacking-side of midfield to give Arnautovic a little more freedom to work his way front and center. It may even lend itself to a slight formation change with more attacking midfielders without a “true striker role”. I also think that this move, along with with Felipe Anderson, will help provide additional quality to the depleted attacking midfield ranks. The Hammers have Manuel Lanzini expected to be out for most of the calendar year, and Michail Antonio is nursing a hamstring injury. Yarmolenko is coming off a less-than-ideal stint with Borussia Dortmund, but I think he has the quality to become an everyday fixture in this squad.
- Lukasz Fabianski ($8.8M from Swansea) – Last year West Ham had Joe Hart for the season and he split time with Adrián. I think this is to provide a good back up for Adrián. It should also increase competition during training for the players to be in good form. Both keepers are 31, so I imagine they will continue to split time unless one of them manages to distance themselves from the other immeasurably.
- Fabián Balbuena ($4.5M from Corinthians) – Balbuena only made 8 appearances for Corinthians this season (keep in mind that the Brazilian season runs from May-December, but he played every possible minute in each appearance. He’s averaging 2 tackles, nearly 2 interceptions, almost 3 aerial duels won per match, more than 5 clearances, and a block per game. He’s also averaging 50+ passes per game at greater than 85% completion rate, to go with nearly 5 successful long balls per match. Long story short: I think this transfer needs to be reported to the Brazilian authorities, because this is grand theft centerback (I know it’s corny — but it’s kind of true).
- Ryan Fredericks (Free Transfer from Fulham) – Fredericks who was able to leave relegation-candidate side Fulham after their promotion to the EPL (when his contract ran out). Fredericks made 44 appearances for Fulham last season and played almost every minute available, providing 9 assists, and was named to the Best XI for the Championship. Clearly he’s a workhorse and could pair very nicely with a Jack Wilshere determined to prove his value and fight for a first team space. Across the season, Fredericks averaged more than one key pass per game, averaged 40+ passes per game (with a nearly 77% completion rate), while adding some long balls, and a cross. He also averages 2 defensive tackles, almost an interception per game, and 3 clearances. Fredericks likely would have a higher assist total if they used “hockey assists” as it sounds like he’s way more involved in the attack than his assist totals indicate.
- Jack Wilshere (Free Transfer from Arsenal) – Wilshere comes from Arsenal on a free transfer after Wilshere refused to sign a new deal without assurances of playing time from his new manager, Unai Emery. Wilshere has been relegated to an off the bench option for Arsenal, and he (and many supporters) feel as though he should be featuring more. When Emery clarified his position (AKA assured him that he wouldn’t be getting the time he wants) he allowed his contract to run down and move. Wilshere’s stats look worse than the specifics actually suggest, he’s only averaged about 70′ per appearance in the games he’s played for Arsenal. In 198 appearances (meaning he’s appeared in less than 60% of the games he’s been eligible for Arsenal), he’s managed 14 goals and 30 assists in 10 seasons with the club, with 1.5 years on loan. I’m not sure why Wilshere went so unused during Arsene Wenger’s time, but I think this is a huge capture for West Ham. I think that Wilshere comes into this team with a vengeance and makes Arsenal realize exactly what they are missing out on, I expect a bumper season for Wilshere and expect him to be fully involved in a nice season for the Hammers.
- Xande Silva (Undisclosed from Guimarães) – Silva hasn’t really gotten a fair shake to show his potential for the Portuguese side, he’s made 26 appearances but only for a total of 926′ (~36′ per appearance). They have noted that Silva will go into the U23 side right away but will likely have an opportunity to vie for first team time from there. I anticipate that Silva will turn out to be a fine signing for the club as he continues to mature under the tutelage of Pelligrini.
- Lucas Pérez ($5M from Arsenal) – I think Pérez was a little hard done at Arsenal, he spent 2016-2017 with Arsenal but was only fit for 2 starts and 9 substitute appearances due to injuries and illness. He spent the 2017-2018 season on loan at Deportivo de La Coruña where he had a dramatically different season he made 31 starts (4 more as a sub) in La Liga scoring 8 goals and assisting on 6 others. I think that this is a fresh start for everyone involved and I think that Pérez has more to provide and West Ham should benefit. I think that this is a great transfer price for West Ham to get him on, it’s cheap and gives him the freedom to flourish without the spotlight.
- Carlos Sánchez ($5M from Fiorentina) – Sánchez comes over from Fiorentina but his last season was split amongst Serie A and La Liga where he racked up 25 appearances at about 66′ per appearance. I’m a little less thrilled about this player in his twilight years (32) who hasn’t really managed to hang around anywhere except Ligue 1 where he spent 5 years with a single club in his early days. Since then it’s been moves back and forth between leagues (and clubs) and hasn’t really been able to hold down a starting role. I guess this is an ok acquisition for squad depth, though if that’s the rationale, I think they overpaid a fair bit. I’m undecided on this transfer, hopefully the club and player will prove me wrong.
- Cheikhou Kouyaté ($12M to Crystal Palace) – The only thing I can make sense of with this move is that Manuel Pelligrini doesn’t play on playing with a defensive midfielder. Kouyaté appeared in almost every game for West Ham last year. The first match of the season saw them lining up with a 2 central midfielders, with 3 attacking midfielders and a striker. I can’t really fault the club for cashing in on the player, they made a little over $3M on the sale of him, despite that they purchased him almost 4 years ago.
- Reece Burke ($1.9M to Hull City) – Burke is an academy prospect that has spent most of his time with lower tier clubs, this seems like a way to get him off the books, while cashing in at the same time. He’s moved on to a Tier 2 which is where he’s spent most of his time on loan. Should work out well for both parties.
- James Collins (Released) – Collins made 13 appearances for the club last year after a long tenure with the club, but his age and the signing of Diop make him less desirable to sign to another contract deal. He’s had a good run with the Hammers, and I’d be willing to bet he can get on with a lower tier club if he’s interested in continuing with his playing career.
- Patrice Evra (Released) – Evra has had a lovely career, but I think it’s finally winding to an end. He only made 5 appearances since joining the club in the January, likely due to the injury situation with defenders. At 37, I don’t think that Evra will be able to lockdown a long-term contract with most clubs.
Last update: August 13, 2018