When asked if he would do any the late business after the Hammers’ goalless draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Sam Allardyce stated that if a player came to their attention, and the circumstances were right for the club, then a deal would be done.
That seemed to be the case for Colombian international defender Pablo Armero, who agreed a deal to join the club on loan from Italian club Napoli until the end of the season.
Having not featured until the club’s recent 3-1 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, with the outcome of the match on the way to being confirmed, Allardyce made a final substitution in which he came on in place of Andy Carroll.
But although the fans probably regarded it as a strange change at the time, the manager’s reasoning was quite possibly that his team couldn’t afford to lose another goal with the home side already 3-1 in front.
Armero didn’t really have enough time to show what he could bring to the side on that afternoon and was named on the bench against Hull City last Wednesday due to the consistent recent form of defender George McCartney. With McCartney suffering a hamstring injury at the Stadium of Light, however, together with the absence of James Collins, Allardyce might have to include Armero in the starting line-up for Sunday’s home match with current Premier League leaders Liverpool.
The home fans will be able to get a good look at him then so they can judge for themselves whether they think he will the worth signing in the summer.
What is strange, though, is that the news came to light before he had even featured for the . Perhaps he impressed the manager and his coaching staff in training, or their discussions with Napoli were to the effect that they would take him on a permanent deal when the loan period ended anyway, regardless of how he played.
Given his showing on Monday he could be good for the club. It is his pace, one of his particular attributes, which could have persuaded Big Sam to give him a try; he has speed to burn and given the make up of a lot of Allardyce’s players at Bolton Wanderers fans would not be surprised to say Armero as one of those that sounds through the entrance at Upton Park next season as a permanent member of the West Ham squad.
But why should Allardyce risk money on a player that has hardly featured? Another thing that might be on their minds is if he impresses then Allardyce is likely to keep him in the side even if he has the other regular players available. The question they will be asking themselves them is who will the dropped to allow him to fit into the side?
Having been to numerous matches at Upton Park since 2001, I know that the fans have a good relationship with the club and show a lot of respect to players that work hard. They were sad to see Collins leave when he joined Aston Villa in 2010 and, although he has had a few forgettable games since his return, he still has a good rapport with the home support.
The same could be said for Winston Reid – although he had an inconsistent season when he first arrived at the club, he performed superbly while in the Championship and helped them achieve promotion back to the top-flight as the first attempt. If Armero is able to prove himself to be a good, keen player then it’s possible that the fans will welcome him as eagerly as they do the current squad.
Given all the rumours about the player signing the deal, having now seen him for a sustained period of time in Monday’s 2-1 victory at Sunderland, it’s got to the worth a go at pursuing the permanent deal. Unless there are drastic changes over the summer, only Allardyce and the owners know how the transfer plans will work and how this new transfer could fit into the squad long-term.