The dream striker signing this summer would have to be Michy Batshuayi, wouldn’t it?
Ok, so it’s looking extremely unlikely that we’ll get him. But that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine what it would be like if we did manage to break the bank for the Belgium international.
So we booted up Football Manager 16 and put it to the test. Would he prove to be as influential as Carlos Bacca was in our last FM16 experiment, or would he prove to be a complete waste of money?
Read on the find out…
How much did he cost?
Unlike the Bacca experiment, where FM16 automatically generated a transfer fee when he was switched the Hammers squad, Batshuayi’s switch seems to be for an undisclosed.
Let’s just make it realistic (ish) and say he signed for £30m.
Hit the ground running?
When we booted up the simulation we began in the first round of Europa League qualifying, which isn’t quite accurate.
Had it been a true representation of our coming season, then our new Belgian striker would’ve gotten off to the best of starts – he scores the first goal of the season in a 3-0 home win over Norwegian first division side Odd Ballklubb.
His next goal comes in the second leg of the second qualifying round against Linfield.
After netting three goals in six Europa League qualifiers fans were beginning to believe Batshuayi was going to live up to his hype, but that soon changed.
The 21-year-old netted his first Premier League goal in the third league of the season – a 2-2 draw away at Watford…
But then it all goes wrong.
Batshuayi picks up a groin strain in training on September 9 and is ruled out for three weeks.
We only win one Premier League game in his absence (a superb 3-1 home victory over Arsenal) and the belief is that we need him in our squad in order to succeed.
That belief is strengthened when the Belgian nets on his first game back since injury – a 3-1 win over West Brom…
However, the performances of Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia began to convince Bilic that Batshuayi would have to fight for his place in the first team – which he severely struggled to do.
For the rest of the season, the 21-year-old had to settle for a handful of starts until the end of the season, and instead had to settle for a place in the Development Squad – where he scored five goals in 10 starts.
In all Batshuayi made 10 Premier League appearances, contributing just three goals and one assist.
So his arrival turned out to be a complete disappointment.
Batshuayi scored seven goals in 19 appearances in all competitions throughout his first season at the Olympic Stadium, and really struggled to make an impact on the side.
It eventually led to Bilic putting him on the loan list for the following season, which will have annoyed the fans.
In terms of his performance stats, Batshuayi registered a goal every 178 minutes and averaged 2.31 shots per game – which isn’t that bad really.
But he clearly struggled to adapt to life in England, and I would’ve thought he’d eventually be sold if we continued the simulation in to a second season.
West Ham’s season?
With the club clearly hoping Bathuayi would help them kick off a new era in style, it’s no surprise that his struggles led to a very disappointing Premier League campaign.
We finished 13th with 46 points and struggled to put together a decent run of results throughout the entire season – our longest unbeaten run came over the festive period as we won three and drew two.
Our longest winless run was eight games, which came between October and December.
Elsewhere, after winning our Europa League group we were elimanted in the first knockout round by Inter Milan, who beat us 3-1 on aggregate.
We lost 1-0 in the Capital One Cup third round, while in the FA Cup we were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the quarter-final.
Not what we were expecting and a far cry from the success of Carlos Bacca’s FM16 experiment.
With such a large transfer fee involved, Batshuayi clearly struggled to live up to expectations and ‘flopped’ in his first season at the club.
Rating – 4/10