17 goals and 6 assists – West Ham United missed a trick by failing to sign this Ligue 1 powerhouse for free


Hatem Ben Arfa 1

Why West Ham should have pushed harder to sign Hatem Ben Arfa

West Ham have finally gotten off the mark in the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Everton last weekend. After four successive losses, Pellegrini and his men desperately needed three points. But the challenges that lie ahead are not easy by any means.

The Hammers face Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs in three of their next four games. But things could have been better had the club pushed harder to sign Hatem Ben Arfa in the summer.

According to a recent report by L’Equipe, a French outlet, the Hammers made a move to sign the Frenchman but the player rejected the offer.

The case of Ben Arfa is a very curious one. The 31-year-old spent four-and-a-half years in England with Newcastle United and Hull City where he had some mixed experiences. He then moved back to France and joined Nice in 2015.

At Nice, he exploded into a fireball as he scored 17 goals and assisted 6 more in just 33 starts for the club. His sensational form earned him a move to Paris Saint-Germain, one of the biggest clubs in world football. In his first season at Parc des Princes, he started just 5 games and his numbers reduced drastically.

The likes of Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler were ahead of him in the pecking order and that halted his momentum. In fact, under Unai Emery last season, he didn’t start a single game in the Ligue 1. The arrival of superstars like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe pushed him out of the first-team and understandably, his confidence took a dive.

Hatem Ben Arfa

However, he joined Rennes this summer and he must aim to revive his stuttering career. But a move to England wouldn’t have been bad. West Ham have a Premier League winner in Manuel Pellegrini, along with some big names like Andriy Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere etc.

But as proven in the first four games, these foreign players needed time to settle in the Premier League. The English top-flight’s pace and physicality have troubled far better players in the past but this is where Ben Arfa could have been a big differential.

Owing to his time with Newcastle and Hull, he does boast of a good amount of Premier League experience. As a result, Ben Arfa could have slotted in easily into the starting XI. He didn’t exactly tear up the scoring charts in England but there is a certain mystery about him. At any given moment of time, he has the ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck and change things in an instant.

For example, West Ham struggled to open up a solid-looking Wolverhampton Wanderers defence earlier this season and eventually lost the game 1-0. However, a player like Ben Arfa, who likes to run at defenders and can dribble past them with ease, could have caused havoc in Wolves’ backline.

Read More: Two ideal destinations for this former £8m Sunderland star – including Premier League outfit

Yarmolenko, Anderson and Perez are all good players but Ben Arfa would have added a completely different look to this West Ham side.

But for the Hammers, what’s gone is gone. Now, the manager and the team must build on their hard-fought win against Everton and strive to do better.

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