Amid some pretty frustrating claims that the Ecuadorian international has recently dropped a coffee mug on his foot and subsequently been ruled out of the match-up with Arsenal this weekend – Enner Valencia really has been a player to get the Upton Park faithful talking this season.
He initially arrived in the east end as the club’s marquee summer signing off the back of a very solid World Cup campaign. The in-demand South American scored all three of Ecuador’s goals at the tournament – impressively proving to himself, and to his fans, that he really does know where the goal is.
Since the 2014/15 campaign has been under way for the Hammers this season however, Valencia has been somewhat overshadowed by Diafra Sakho in all competitions – with the Senegalese striker undoubtedly going down as Big Sam’s biggest surprise hit throughout the course of the domestic campaign. West Ham’s new no.31 reportedly cost the club in the region of £12million, which when compared with the £3.5million spent on Sakho, does seem a bit steep in the cold light of day.
Whilst Valencia has scored a decent five goals so far in his Hammers career however, the Ecuadorian striker has seemingly split opinion down at Upton Park – Is the 25-year-old really an up and coming star of West Ham’s future, or has he simply been overhyped and overvalued on the back of an impressive cameo at the World Cup last summer?
One thing that just has to be mentioned about Enner Valencia is the fact that his touch and all-round technical ability often let him down when it comes to performing at the top level of the English game. Far too often this season, the South American has lost possession for his team and sometimes held up specific moves all because he needs to work on such said aspects of his game.
In comparison to the somewhat forgotten figure of Mauro Zarate at Upton Park, Valencia just doesn’t match up when it comes down to ball control.
Such an outcome has even led some sections of the Upton Park faithful to already label the Ecuadorian as not good enough for the Premier League – and a gamble that simply hasn’t paid off for the West Ham board.
Comments likes this however, as passionate as they may be, remain very firmly wide of the mark. A bit of context is seemingly needed when it comes to Enner Valencia – as because he has only ever played in the Ecuadorian and Mexican leagues so far in his career – the striker has in-fact made great strides when it comes to plying his trade in the Premier League.
Before the untimely death of his Ecuador teammate Chucho Bentiez also, Enner was mainly deployed as a winger primarily. The transition into becoming an out-and-out striker has therefore come thick and fast for the new West Ham man.
The 25-year-old simply deserves more time before people seemingly cast their ultimate verdict on his abilities. With a full pre-season under his belt with the Hammers – where his already promising chemistry with Diafra Sakho can be intensified even further – the Upton Park faithful will likely see Enner Valencia more than come good in the club’s final season at Boleyn Ground.
His unpredictability, whilst seemingly proving difficult for the striker on occasions, is nevertheless the Ecuadorian’s biggest asset. Premier League defensives don’t usually have much of a plan when it comes to dealing with such a threat. Valencia can power past the opposition on most given occasions with his constant movement, and also has a pretty effective shot on him when circumstances allow.
West Ham fans need only look to his first finish for the club – a fine effort against Hull City earlier on in the season – for evidence of the striker’s deadly talents with the still ball.
Enner’s willingness to chase down opposing defenders alongside Sakho also deserves to be commended, as without such an outlet on board this season, the team’s successes would invariably not be the same.
For the all the aforementioned reasons then, Enner Valencia certainly has staked a worthy claim for West Ham whilst he has been at the club – and with a little more faith and a little less knee-jerk negativity thrust in his direction – the Ecuadorian favourite will undoubtedly develop into even more of a promising star with the Hammers in the not too distant future.