West Ham have announced the signing of Pablo Fornals, who joins from Villarreal on a five-year contract, with the option of an extra year.
A price wasn’t specified in the announcement, though it has been confirmed the Spaniard has become the Hammers’ second most expensive signing ever – behind Felipe Anderson.
While the pair may not have cost the same, Hammers fans can look forward to seeing them on the same wavelength at London Stadium this season.
Felipe Anderson scored nine goals and assisted four times in 36 Premier League games last season, which is certainly a good return for his first campaign in a new league.
This all happened without having a person he could develop telepathic link-up play within attack, as Robert Snodgrass and Mark Noble were shoehorned into an attacking midfield position at times, while Samir Nasri and Manuel Lanzini both missed large spells through injury.
With somebody of Fornals’ quality to play with on a regular basis, Anderson should be able to exceed his numbers from last season, while also having an even greater attacking influence in matches.
Fornals got a total of five goals and six assists across La Liga and the Europa League for Villarreal last campaign.
It is his ability to play through balls, dribble and give key passes – which are all cited as strengths on his WhoScored profile – that Anderson will be looking forward to the most though.
The Brazilian can be at his most dangerous when the ball is played in front of him to run onto, something he can expect his new teammate to do regularly.
Fornals can naturally veer towards the left side of the field, as he has also played left midfield various times – which is another benefit for the link up play between the two.
Anderson’s presence will also benefit Fornals in multiple ways, with the first and most obvious one being that the Brazilian is someone who will be a regular option to pass to.
The other is that as long as the Brazilian is in the side, there is no way Fornals will need to go on the left wing – where he was deployed at times for Villarreal, which often nullified his game.
Manuel Pellegrini has looked to get the Hammers playing slick and attacking football since taking over the club as manager, something he is now more determined to do than ever.
Anderson and the new signing Fornals will undoubtedly be at the very forefront of this approach.