The Hammers first game of the season saw new boys Cardiff City visit Upton Park, and they were duly despatched in a workman-like perfomance by West Ham. With Andy Carroll still injured and no more Carlton Cole, it was left to Modibo Maiga to fill the striker postion and although he didn’t set the world on fire, I think he did pretty well. He is a different type of player to Carroll. He needs the ball to his feet and is not that great in the air. But he played well in pre-season and scored a few goals, and deserves his chance to show what he can do.
He arrived at the club in July 2012 from French side FC Sochaux-Montbeliard for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £5 million, and to be honest struggled quite badly with the pace of the game. He was a yard or two slower than everyone else, but showed enough promise with a couple of great goals not be shown the door. He made relatively few first team appearances after his uncertain start, but has shown this summer that he is coming to terms a bit more the hurly burly of Premiership football, and the injury to Carroll and the dearth of other strikers has given him the opportunity he certainly been waiting for. He still appears to be a bit lazy at tracking back, but a few choice words from Kevin Nolan will hopefully put that right. He seems to me an “arm around the shoulder” kind of player though, and no doubt Big Sam has been giving him a squeeze in the right places at the right time!
Maiga’s good fortune however, has highlighted the predicament that West Ham find themselves in now, and the manager and owners have made it clear they need another striker before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month. However, the new financial fair play rules mean that they deperately need to get someone off the wages bill before they can sign anyone else. Matt Taylor and Ricardo Vaz Te have been mooted as the two most likely to fit the bill, but time is running out. Should nothing transpire, everyone will be hoping that Carroll stays fit after his return, or else it will be a long haul till the next transfer window in January.
Finally on the subject of transfers, it was disappointing that Loic Remy ended up at Newcastle, but who knows what goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps a look at the baggage that comes with the player was enough to put them off. In Sam we trust.