A testament to the four mentioned above plus goalkeeper Alphonse Areola who all played in the final game of the year. When 5 of your 8 summer signings contributed to a tournament final win, we can all look back and say the 180 plus million in transfer fees were worth it for hardware.
Additionally, Flynn Downes was a solid role player all season long for West Ham. Mostly coming in for defensive purposes when the games were tight. Maxwel Cornet’s mysterious injury held him out most of the season but there were glimpses of him being an effective player. It’s not believed he will ever crack the starting lineup but coming off the bench he can create chances for himself.
Danny Ings signed in January as a depth move by West Ham. Ings, a true veteran gave the club another number nine option but without an attacking partner sometimes Ings looked lonely out there on his own. Nevertheless, Ings was useful scoring three goals and often wreaking havoc up front.
That brings us to perhaps the most exciting move of the transfer season, Scamacca. After a fast start in tournament play scoring five goals in Conference League competition and three more goals in the Premier League, Scamacca was eventually shut down due to a knee injury. But there were complications way before that.
During the transfer period possibly the most exciting acquisition was that of a true number nine. Scamacca’s arrival meant the team was finally ready to move on from converted winger Michail Antonio. Scamacca has it all, 6’5 frame, speed, solid track record, and of course being dubbed the future number 9 of the Italian National Team wasn’t bad either. His own national coach Roberto Mancini was ecstatic about a possible move for Scamacca to West Ham. And later hit out at Moyes for his use of the ex-Sassuolo man. It all made sense. Until he showed up.
“When he arrived he felt like it was a formality,” said the source. “The idea of competing for the job hadn’t entered his mind. But there he was upon arrival competing each day against the incumbent, Antonio.”
You don’t need to know Antonio personally to understand he is the alpha in any group. He had come into the 2023 season knowing he’d eventually be coming off the bench for Scamacca or to go back and get more minutes on the West Ham wing. According to multiple sources, as pre-season turned into the regular season practice, manager Moyes told Antionio to step it up. Make Scamacca work for every single minute.
The aggression in practice and the ample playing time early in the season, made Scamacca start to wonder “Did I come here to start or to compete?” he questioned. Those closest to the Italian striker say it was never made clear to him. As for the manager, Moyes wasn’t going to let his new acquisition just slide into a role without working for it. Whether West Ham were correct in his approach, one thing was certain, Scamacca’s confidence took a hit and from there he was fighting for his place on the team.
Antonio has become one of the longest-tenured Hammers on the team. He did feel an obligation to win the job and give it one more go. The deeper into the season he continue to play and start, the harder it was for him to let go. If Scamacca wanted the job he was going to have to take it.
As the season progressed Scamacca felt himself getting stronger. He pined for more minutes. His showing the Conference League made it feel like it was only a matter of time before he was locked in.
“The opportunity never came again,” the source said. “By mid-season, the job had become Antonio’s”.
Scamacca was crushed. The team turned minor injuries into insurmountable ones for Gianluca. Without World Cup play, Scamacca was home contemplating what came next. His psyche could not recover and as the team prepared to come back from World Cup, Scamacca would ask his reps what the optics would be if he asked to be loaned out for the upcoming mid-season transfer period.
“This was a mistake by all parties,” the source said. “This simply did not sit well with Moyes after it got back to him. Gianluca’s reasoning was that he wanted to make sure he got on the field enough to get a call-up to the national team. But it wasn’t viewed that way. Moyes felt as though he didn’t want to be here.”
The rumblings grew and as the transfer window neared, Scamacca fired his reps and hired new agents to see him through to what he wanted. “Once Moyes was contacted by one of his new agents, he got the feeling that he didn’t want to be here and so he treated him as a player who didn’t want to be there.”
As we now know, Scamacca wasn’t loaned out and with FA Cup, Conference League and Premier League games on the schedule, Moyes needed options and depth if he wanted to get through it. As January rolled by a mysterious injury kept Scamacca out of matches and eventually Moyes would bring in Ings as Antonio’s back-up and Scamacca would get shut down. Now the question remains… Will he be back?
“Moyes is not the type of manager who heals wounds,” said a source. “So really it’s up to the player. Can Gianlucca take it upon himself to mend the fence, forgive his manager for the lack of playing time, and make him feel comfortable enough to give him another opportunity?”
We’ve now learned that Scamacca may be on his way out to join his dream club Roma. The deal is contingent on Moyes finding another striker to replace him. The chances of reconciling are almost impossible. Unless Moyes tells the player he’d like to start fresh. Let’s not hold our breath.