This summer is an exciting time to be a West Ham United fan. With a new set of owners and a new manager at the helm, the East London side can hopefully look forward to staving off relegation worries next season. Having finished perilously close to the drop zone last season, new manager Avram Grant will be looking to bring in fresh talent in order to avoid a repeat scenario next term, and it’s likely he’ll be focussing his attention on improving his side’s attacking options. Although the Hammers were the 10th highest scorers in the Premier League last season, the patchy form of current forwards Carlton Cole, Alessandro Diamanti and Benni McCarthy may suggest that a proven, quality striker is needed to boost the club’s chances of avoiding a relegation battle next season.
With funds readily available, the media have unsurprisingly linked the Upton Park outfit with a host of forwards over the last month. One such player heavily touted for a move to London this summer is Ghanaian forward Asamoah Gyan. The 24-year-old, who plies his trade for French side Rennes, has hugely impressed in South Africa, finding the net on three occasions during Ghana’s run to the quarter-finals. Gyan is thought to be receptive to a move to England, having stated of the Premier League, “It is simply the best league in the world and every player wants to be part of it.” Would the Ghanaian be a good signing for West Ham?
During his four 2010 World Cup appearances for Ghana thus far, Gyan has shown that he is a gifted player, blessed with pace, strength and the ability to finish. At times, Gyan has led the line on his own, suggesting that he may be versatile enough to partner Carlton Cole and play up front as a lone-striker. The former Udinese man has racked up 22 goals in 43 appearances for his country, averaging a strike-rate of better than one in two.
However, despite his fantastic recent form for Ghana, Gyan’s club record is decidedly less impressive. The 24-year-old managed 13 goals in 29 appearances for Rennes last season, a tally similar to that of West Ham’s leading scorer during 2009/10 (Carlton Cole racked up 10 goals in 32 appearances). Indeed last season’s record represents Gyan’s most prolific season – previous tallies with former club Udinese failed to exceed more than eight goals in one season. Whilst injury and selection issues can account for such profligacy to some extent, the jury is still out on whether or not Gyan is a proven forward at top-level football.
Signing a player on the basis of a good World Cup is unbelievably risky; Liverpool’s purchase of El-Hadji Diouf in 2002 is illustrative of this. The Premier League stabilisation of last season’s newly-promoted sides would indicate that the battle to avoid relegation is likely to be even tougher next season, and West Ham United cannot afford to make the wrong moves in the transfer market. Whilst I am certain that the club need a new striker, I am unsure whether Asamoah Gyan is the right man to lead them forward next season.
Would you like to see Asamoah Gyan at Upton Park next season?
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