After adopting an attritional, paint-drying brand of football over the last two years for the sake of Premier League survival, Sam Allardyce has been charged with the task of evolving West Ham‘s style into something more commendable this season.
A major part of that process will be transfers, and according to recent speculation, the Hammers are eying a move for Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano.
The Frenchman is a diminutive, tidy attacking midfielder and impressed last season on loan at West Brom. It’s alleged a fee has already agreed and reports last night claim Amalfitano is now ‘desperate‘ to move to Upton Park.
So in honour of the 29 year-old’s expected arrival, here’s FIVE things Amalfitano will bring to West Ham’s new attacking style
Kevin Nolan found an impressive seven goals and five assists from attacking midfield but that was by far the biggest contribution of any forward-thinking player on the Hammers roster.
As viewable below however, Morgan Amalfitano fared significantly better than the likes of Stewart Downing, Ravel Morrison and Matt Jarvis during his loan spell with West Brom last season:
Here’s a short clip of the midfielder’s net-finding exploits in Ligue 1:
If the Frenchman can transition his consistent output to Upton Park, West Ham’s rather uninspiring average of 1.05 goals scored per match from last season should significantly improve.
And through his ability to score goals, Morgan Amalfitano has the potential to be a real match winner for West Ham. The Irons could certainly do with a talismanic presence too, with the vast majority of their good results depending heavily on Sam Allardyce’s entrenched team ethic rather than moments of individual brilliance.
Last season, the 29 year-old netted this wonder goal to clinch West Brom a historic win against Manchester United at Old Trafford:
He also bagged an audacious lob against relegation rivals Cardiff City:
And found the deciding goal in a 1-0 win over Norwich in April,which proved to be the final nail in Chris Hughton’s Carrow Road career.
Likewise to output, the West Ham squad is suffering from a lack of natural creativity, especially with the future of attacking midfield prodigy Ravel Morrison remaining uncertain after his recent brush with the law.
But the anticipated arrival of Morgan Amalfitano should remedy that somewhat. As viewable below, despite the Baggies’ atrocious form last season the Marseille midfielder produced impressive attacking averages:
West Ham need a player who can unlock opposition defences without relying upon their more traditional ethos of route one football.
The 5 foot 10 Frenchman would be perfect for that role; he can operate in attacking or central midfield, and rather than being an old-fashioned English winger that constantly hugs the touchline, Amalfitano is a roaming playmaker who often cuts inside to open the whole pitch up.
But at 32 years of age, his scoring rate slowly-yet-surely decreasing and his legs inevitably beginning to fade, the Hammers captain can’t be expected to play all 38 games in the attacking midfield role next season. He’s also picked up some worrying disciplinary problems of late.
Sam Allardyce needs a viable alternative, especially amid the aformentioned drama surrounding Ravel Morrison at this moment in time, and he may well have found one in Morgan Amalfitano.
The Frenchman may not share Nolan’s determined spirit but he can score, create and is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet. During games in which the Hammers need to keep the ball, this service could prove vital.
That’s not to say West Ham fans should expect Kevin Nolan to be ousted by Amalfitano any time soon, but the 29 year-old’s arrival will allow the Irons skipper to share the burdens of his intrinsic role.
But the sustained tension surrounding his transfer situation this summer appears to have brought out the worst in him. According to reports from France, the 29 year-old spat at coach Marcelo Bielsa during a training session he was told not to attend last week.
This tackle on Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj last season wasn’t too friendly either:
So although the one-cap France midfielder appeared a rather pleasant personality during his stay with the Baggies, he does come with a dark side that could soon be exposed at Upton Park.