West Ham new boys need to be vital cogs in the team
19:30 13 August 2014
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Carroll injury puts pressure on Valencia and Zarate already
Before the recent doom and gloom began about West Ham’s new season, it wasn’t too long ago that West Ham fans were getting quite excited about their prospects following the new arrivals at the club.
The summer clear-out saw the departure of Joe Cole, Jack Collison, Stephen Henderson and George McCartney, followed by Matt Taylor’s decision to move to Burnley, while loan signings Pablo Armero, Marco Borriello, Antonio Nocerino and Roger Johnson were all considered unworthy of permanent deals.
But Hammers fans seemed satisfied with the club’s early recruitment policy.
Striker Mauro Zarate arrived after buying himself out of his contract at Argentinean club side Velez Sarsfield. Young, but experienced defensive midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate signed from Anderlecht, followed by two of the Championship’s best young players last season in full back Aaron Cresswell from Ipswich and Charlton’s Diego Poyet.
But West Ham weren’t finished yet. The big-money move was for Ecuador World Cup striker Enner Valencia who joined in a deal that could be worth £12 million, before the Hammers swooped for a season-long loan deal for Arsenal right back Carl Jenkinson.
All in all, with the added bonus of getting rid of Alou Diarra, though not as yet Modibo Maiga, things were looking positive for West Ham in the transfer market and the club’s wish for two capable players in each position seemed to have taken a step closer.
However, these things have a way of turning round and kicking you in the backside and so it has proved with just a few days to the start of the new campaign. Last summer, the Hammers went through pre-season without suffering any new injuries, but were then hit by a host of them early in the season. This time they have come early.
Andy Carroll’s latest injury is a huge setback and one that Sam Allardyce is still battling to overcome. If Valencia can adapt to the Premier League and hit the ground running, then that will go a long way to solving that problem, but that is a big ask for a 25-year-old who has never played outside of South America in his life.
Jenkinson and Cresswell have been hit by little injury set-backs and could miss Saturday’s Premier League opener with Tottenham and with Poyet only given five minutes to show what he can do against Sampdoria on Saturday, maybe he is not going to get much of a look in at the start of the campaign.
Suddenly the enthusiasm for the new signings has waned a little and West Ham fans are keen for Allardyce and the owners to add to the squad before the window closes at the end of the month.
Allardyce is looking to do that too, but all those good intentions about buying early and getting the squad bedded in and bonded before the big kick-off has not quite gone to plan.
Carroll is the key to it all. With him in the team, the new players look like adding to an already strong squad, without him, the reliance on the new signings has become more acute and that is a big gamble.