For too many years, West Ham United’s co-owner David Sullivan has handled transfer dealings, gathering an unwanted reputation for recruiting extremely mediocre footballers – a generous way of phrasing it.
However, the arrival of Director of Football Mario Husillos has revolutionised the way West Ham conduct their transfer dealings, which has a been a welcome, refreshing addition in east London.
Manuel Pellegrini was appointed as West Ham manager in 2018 with the intentions of transforming the Hammers into a ‘big club’. The Chilean was adamant that Husillos was appointed in the process to cooperate and handle the transfers that he targets.
Their relationship stems back from the three, successful years they spent together in Spain with La Liga side Malaga, and the track record Husillos inherits has transferred into London Stadium.
During his spell at Malaga, Husillos captures a plethora of undetected talent, most notably the signing of Isco for £5m. His ability to spot promising, developing talent is outstanding, as well as his unique talent of capturing ‘marquee signings’ at every club he has worked at; he transferred the same philosophy to east London.
WE'VE GOT HUSILLOS
I JUST DONT THINK YOU UNDERSTAND
HE'S WEST HAMS MAGIC MAN
HES BETTER THAN SULLIVAN
WE'VE GOT MARIO HUSILLOS
— Finnish Hammer (@AlmostaTrueFan) July 8, 2019
A £100m spending spree in Pellegrini’s first summer transfer window was a clear indication that this football club was changing. The addition of top, European talents were captured, not by Sullivan and his incentives, but by the unprecedented effect of Husillos. Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko are just a small portion of examples to demonstrate what the Spanish Director of Football can do.
Before the arrival of Husillos, West Ham’s handling of transfers was laughable. From negotiation tactics to leaked proposals, Sullivan rapidly developed a negative reputation.
The William Carvalho saga of 2017 is the perfect example of the type of man the co-owner is. Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon were insulted by Sullivan’s attempts and proposals over the potential signing of Carvalho, and it did not take long for leaked emails to appear in the press.
In said email, Sullivan included bonuses and fees should West Ham qualify for the Champions League while the Portugal midfielder was at the club. I am not sure if this was a joke, but it epitomised everything that was wrong with how transfer dealings were being conducted.
Email sent to Sporting which shows that West Ham did make £23m offer for William Carvalho pic.twitter.com/RxekKq6FSH
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) September 6, 2017
West Ham endured an average season in 2018/19, finishing 10th in the Premier League, but an embarrassing FA Cup defeat to AFC Wimbledon left the fans outraged. It was a transition season for Pellegrini and his squad, and this forthcoming campaign is one to get excited about.
Husillos has already captured the signature of highly-rated Pablo Fornals from Villarreal, and the brakes do not appear to be on just yet. Maxi Gomez of Celta Vigo is Pellegrini’s top target, and this is a real test for Husillos to demonstrate exactly what he can produce.
However, should they fail to land the Uruguay striker, Husillos will immediately turn his attention to the next target, and won’t stop until a top-quality striker is brought to east London.
Appointing a Director of Football is the most intelligent piece of business Sullivan has done during his tenure at West Ham. The club is slowly transforming into a formidable Premier League outfit, and the transition is exciting the Hammers fans.
Losing Marko Arnautovic would have been a crisis two years ago, but the trust and faith the club and fan base have in Husillos to replace him is a credit to his quality as a Director of Football.
West Ham are assembling one of their best Premier League squads in history, and credit must go to Pellegrini for his impact, but most importantly, Husillos and his magic touch.