Like it or not, Diangana looks set to leave West Ham to join West Brom. So, if we’re selling to buy, who should we spend the money on?
Well, like most things in this world, the West Ham fanbase is split on what to do. Do we spend the money replacing Grady Diangana and sign Brentford’s Said Benrahma to add goals and creativity? What about finally addressing the gaping hole in the squad at left-back? And then there’s the recent linking of the club to Bologna defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. Could that be the destination for our new found cash?
If you spend half an hour scrolling through twitter you’re likely to see enough posts to convince you of one signing then the other, then to change opinion again. We covered some of our opinions on our recent podcast now available on Youtube. But I’ll do what I can to save you the time on social media.
Like for like replacement
Whatever your opinion on the Diangana sale, there’s no denying that Benrahma would be a capable addition to our squad. According to WhoScored he managed seventeen goals and nine assists in nearly 4000 minutes in the Championship last year, which is a pretty good return and a sign he’s physically fit and capable. Playing on the left-wing, he would definitely be a like for like replacement for Diangana in terms of position, even if he does play more as an inside forward than a true winger.
My issue for this one is twofold. Firstly, I don’t believe that he will be let go from Brentford for the money that we get in from the Diangana deal. Secondly, why sell a 21-year-old, homegrown winger who is gelling with the squad to bring in a 25-year-old untested in the top leagues for the same amount, if not more? It makes no sense!
It’s not good squad building in any way shape or form. We’re not in a position where we need a more ‘win-now’ squad to tip us into silverware chances. We need long term development, and this replacement would be short term gambling in my opinion.
So I mentioned Takehiro Tomiyasu in the intro, and he seems to have been linked with the club by a number of reputable sources. Our site expert Henry Tomlinson did a great overview on him yesterday, extolling his playing credentials as part of the squad. However, there are again a number of issues here. What would this signing really bring? Well, firstly he’s got tremendous versatility but doesn’t play in the glaringly weak left-back position.
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Whilst having someone who can cover right back, centreback and defensive midfield would be great, that’s not what we need to be spending fifteen million on. As has been made blatantly clear, we don’t have the money for utility signings.
Secondly, it seems odd that our first choice defensive signing is a young defender with fewer than 35 appearances in European leagues. There seems to be only one reason he’s at the top of the list, and that would be the revenue that would come from having Japanese interest in the club. He’s a star in the making for a growing football nation, and him signing for us would definitely generate money for the club. But not enough to cover us if we got relegated. And we’re still in very real danger from that.
So for me signing a left-back with the money seems to be the only course of action we can take with the money. If we spend the money anywhere else to begin with we’re just gambling that Aaron Cresswell suddenly comes good again, and with players being snapped up by Premier League rivals we are in desperate need of strengthening that area.
Rico Henry was the best fullback on the pitch for our friendly, and I’m not sure why that hasn’t been pursued. Because in my opinion, turning up with Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku as left-back options again show a real unwillingness to adapt.
Will West Ham use the money wisely? Hopefully, but history says otherwise. Overloading ourselves with more attacking players is likely to provide little joy, and signing a player for merchandise revenue seems odd at the current time. But I’m not in charge, and it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.