An unexpected and fairly massive signing at the time, Manuel Pellegrini lured Andriy Yarmolenko for a new-look West Ham team, but supporters were robbed of the Ukranian’s best.
Our of Borussia Dortmund and into West Ham; Andriy Yarmolenko’s arrival in East London was a big surprise and promised finishing, dribbling and thunderous left boot shooting from the big winger upon arrival.
One of a few big signings Manuel Pellegrini was behind when taking over the Hammers, Yarmolenko cost £17.5m and joined Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere as headline signings for the return to the Premier League for the Chilean manager.
He was rehabbing an injury upon arrival and was drip-fed as a substitute into the first four games of the 2018/2019 season. When the fifth match, a trip to Goodison Park, arrived, Yarmolenko stepped into the starting XI and banged in two terrific goals.
He would add one more assists in his next four matches, in the 3-1 win over Manchester United, but he started every one of these games. He was forced from the Spurs match with a torn Achilles tendon, an injury that would end his season.
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He wasn’t off to a prolific start, but Yarmolenko had waded into the Premier League and put himself on the score sheet a few times in a short stint as a starter. He was available to start this season and factored into 15 of the first 17 matches, mostly as a sub, and nabbed three goals and one assist over this period of time.
Again, he wasn’t scoring at a prolific rate but was proving he was a viable option for offensive production off the bench and could be relied on as a secondary scorer. Much like his previous season, an injury ended this hope as Yarmolenko tore his abductor muscle in December, ending his season up to now.
The silver lining now is that Yarmolenko is back fit and ready to play should the Premier League return to action. He is extremely technically gifted, can play right-wing and striker, and has the ability to score from outside the box. Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio have the right to the right side of the pitch, but a packed schedule could see him relied on as a depth option.
It truly is a story of what could have been with Yarmolenko. He may be one of the most technically skilled players the Hammers have ever had, but as is the case far too often injury stole the opportunity for him to actually impact the team.
Now seemingly on his way out from West Ham, Andriy Yarmolenko never got a fair chance to show the Hammers and Premier League what he could have accomplished. His trajectory to topple the Ukrainian goal-scoring record in the Prem was well on pace, but unfortunate circumstances robbed him of the chance.