Why West Ham should reignite their interest in Steve Cook
Earlier in October, Daily Star (h/t The Sun) reported that West Ham were interested in signing Bournemouth centre-back Steve Cook before the domestic deadline. However, the Hammers eventually roped in Craig Dawson on a season-long loan deal from Watford to end their long and hard pursuit of a new central defender.
Steve Cook rose through the youth ranks of Brighton & Hove Albion but made only 6 first-team appearances for his boyhood club. He spent time on loan at Havant, Eastleigh, Eastbourne Borough, and Mansfield Town in non-league before joining Bournemouth on a permanent deal in 2012 on the back of a successful loan spell.
The 29-year-old has since been a bonafide witness to Bournemouth’s roller-coaster ride through the various divisions in English football. Cook was instrumental as the Cherries won promotion to the Championship at the end of the 2012-13 season. He then played a key role in the club’s triumphant 2014-15 campaign in the second-tier.
Cook featured as a regular starter for Bournemouth at the back during the club’s five-year stay in the Premier League, registering 168 top-flight appearances for the south coast outfit.
The centre-back has retained his status as the club captain following the Cherries’ relegation back down to the Championship at the end of last season, playing the full 90 minutes in each of Bournemouth’s 8 opening league fixtures so far this term.
Cook would add more stability to West Ham’s backline
The East Londoners brought in Craig Dawson on loan from Watford to add more depth to their porous and vulnerable backline. The 30-year-old has considerable experience in the English top-flight but doesn’t really have a great record, having suffered relegation twice over the past three seasons.
Hence, West Ham should look at Dawson only as a temporary fix and go back in the January market for a better centre-back option. Fabian Balbuena has enjoyed an upturn in form in recent games but the Paraguayan has been far too inconsistent over the past two seasons. Angelo Ogbonna remains a very good defender but is not getting any younger at 32.
To put things into perspective, West Ham should definitely make a renewed attempt to sign Steve Cook in January. The 29-year-old has proven his mettle as a quality defender in the top-flight, racking up over 160 PL appearances for Bournemouth.
He has also been the designated club captain for the Cherries over the past few years. He would, therefore, be a massive asset to the Hammers’ backline with his leadership qualities.
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Steve Cook still has several years remaining in his prime at 29 and would be a real bargain for West Ham if he is, indeed, available at the touted price of £8million. It’s hard to get quality defenders on the cheap but Cook certainly has the experience and the leadership skills to add more solidity to the Hammers backline.