Since first bursting onto the scene as the scorer of all three of Ecuador’s goals at last summer’s World Cup, Enner Valencia is fast becoming a solid fan favourite down at Upton Park, even if his performances still bare the hallmarks of someone adjusting to a new life in the Premier League.
The Ecuadorian is an unpredictable talent who has the ability to challenge even the very best defenders on his day. His goal-scoring exploits are what have got him noticed so far in his brief career, and seeing as the 25-year-old has notched a steady four goals already this season, things really do seem to be going well for Enner Valencia.
While the World Cup star may well be finding his feet with West Ham this season, a somewhat surprising rumour linking the South American striker to Stamford Bridge has recently reared its ugly head. Chelsea are thought to be keen on landing the player, even if they are forced to meet his reported £20million buy-out-clause.
In light of such news, could Enner Valencia become this winter’s shock mover, or will he remain at Upton Park at least for the foreseeable future?
The Ecuadorian forward, in his so far brief spell in the Premier League, has managed to win many fans over for his direct nature and ability to score goals. While the same can’t really be said when he has been playing alongside Andy Carroll, when the tricky striker is paired up-top with fellow new boy Diafra Sakho, the attacking chemistry West Ham have going really is something to admire.
Valencia is capable 0f running at defenders, sending in dangerous balls from wide positions, and creating havoc in the box. His aerial ability to meet headers is also impressive considering that Valencia isn’t the tallest of strikers. Both Stoke City and Burnley have been on the wrong end of the South American’s heading ability so far this season, with plenty more victims likely to come if the World Cup hero is played in the correct way.
While Valencia has been in good form overall this campaign, playing him in the right way has not always been an easy task for Sam Allardyce. In recent outings, Big Sam has left the Ecuadorian to play out wide, leaving him isolated from the rest of the team, and away from the danger areas he has already proved he can be so deadly in. Unpredictability has so far been Enner Valencia’s best trait, but because of Allardyce’s questionable tactics of late, the Ecuadorian’s performances have simply not been at the level the Hammers faithful know he is capable of.
The initial reaction to these reports would therefore be to unceremoniously dismiss them straight away. Valencia has hardly proved himself in the Premier League, as only last season the 25-year-old was plying his trade with Mexican outfit, Pachuca. It remains unbelievable that Jose Mourinho could seriously want the Ecuadorian, and even if the interest is serious, paying £20m for a player likely to be behind Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Oscar, and the potentially incoming Juan Cuadrado, would seem OTT even for Chelsea.
No – such rumours simply seem no more than loose talk designed to get football fans excited as the transfer deadline approaches. While suggestions of former West Ham target, Loic Remy, going the other way as part of any deal linking Valencia with a move to Chelsea will certainly excite some Hammers fans, the overall opinion of the Upton Park faithful will likely see fans forget they ever heard about this story.
Enner Valencia remains a West Ham player, and if he can one day match his lofty valuation to a consistent level of performances in the league, perhaps he can become just as much of an East End legend as he is back home in Ecuador.