All the promises of a new attacking style of football before pre-season have been all but ruined by the seriously lacklustre and uninspiring performances and results this summer.
The transfer business has been pretty decent, but we’re still yet to see any signs of the attacking flair the owners have demanded from Sam Allardyce after last season’s ‘park the bus’ approach.
But, with pre-season results proving to be as meaningless as David Gold favouriting tweets in recent years, it’s difficult to tell exactly how the players are going to respond to Allardyce’s new found love for attacking tactics and flair players.
Reports suggest we’re still in the market for a number of new faces, which probably wouldn’t be the case had Andy Carroll not been made of glass, Ravel Morrison wasn’t a complete dick and Carl Jenkinson hadn’t been struck down with the famous ‘Sign for West Ham, get injured’ virus.
The latest to be linked with the Hammers is Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha. Now, if that doesn’t scream ATTACKING FOOTBALL and ANTI-ALLARDYCE at you then I don’t know what will. It’s a believable rumour and a player I would have expected us to be interested in from the word go this summer.
It all depends on whether United will allow him to leave and how much they’d want for him but, knowing our owners, they’ll probably stump up £15million on him anyway – but only if he’s injured and fails a medical.
Matt Jarvis – as much as I love him and everything – doesn’t seem to be the player Allardyce splashed out a club record fee for a couple of years ago. He was signed on the basis that he was statistically the best crosser of the ball in the Premier League with Wolves. Well, that hasn’t exactly been replicated in the famous claret and blue and I’d expect Mauro Zarate, or even Wilfried Zaha, would be ahead of him in the starting XI next season.
But who am I to judge? I once signed Zaha on loan to replace Matt Jarvis on Football Manager. It turned out to be a huge mistake as Jarvis went on to score a hat-trick against me for Stoke and Zaha suffered a broken leg in just his third game for me.
Unrealistic Computer games aside, I really think Zaha would prove to be one the best pieces of business Allardyce could make this summer. His pace, trickery and ability to score more goals than Matt Jarvis could be vital to the success we crave next season and, potentially, the notoriety we are desperate for in the world of attractive football.
Matt Jarvis would be a decent back up (he’s had a good pre-season, so I wouldn’t like to see him sold), but we can do better in that position and I think the reported interest in Zaha could be exactly what we’re looking for.
So I leave you with this scenario…
Mark Noble wins possession off Christian Eriksen in midfield and sprays the ball delightfully out to Wilfried Zaha, without looking and without any effort whatsoever. Zaha collects the ball effortlessly and, in one neat little move, nutmegs Aaron Lennon, finds sixth gear and bombs it down the left-wing. He looks up, spots the big man in the middle and unleashes an inch perfect cross in to the box. Enner Valencia leaps ten foot up in the air and heads the ball past Hugo Lloris. Upton Park erupts. Zaha is mobbed by his team mates while they wait for Valencia to come back down to earth. West Ham win the game 1-0 and get their season off to a perfect start. It’s happened again.
Trouble is, Valencia probably won’t be playing because he’s not fit and all these Zaha rumours will materialise into nothing more than pure fantasy. Like the scenario above and pretty much all of our West Ham related dreams, really.