West Ham made it seven points from their last three matches with a momentous win over Manchester United on Saturday, and the performance of Fabian Balbuena showed the Hammers got their transfer business spot on this summer.
When West Ham managed to sign Manuel Pellegrini this summer, everyone knew that despite all his success, it was simply not enough.
The arrival of Mario Husillos as the new director of football was perhaps even more important, and the pair’s work in the transfer market is finally passing inspection.
After a difficult start to the season, the likes of Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko are starting to shine, but the bargain capture of Balbuena might be the best of the lot.
What the Hammers were really missing at the back last year was a commanding leader, and signing the man that Corinthians fans referred to as “the General” is certainly a good way to go about fixing that.
The 27 year-old cost the Hammers just £4m, and his budding relationship with Diop is extremely promising.
The pair made a whopping 15 clearances against the Red Devils, and Balbuena was responsible for ten of those.
He also won three aerial duels, three tackles and made two smart interceptions, in one of the most dominant centre half performances the London Stadium has seen.
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Of course, playing for Pellegrini isn’t all about defending though, and the 6 ft 2 in Paraguay international completed 87 per cent of his passes, while Diop completed an incredible 96 per cent.
Balbuena wasn’t the most glamorous signing of the summer, but if he keeps improving at the rate he is while helping Diop develop alongside him, he might just this season’s biggest bargain.
So, West Ham fans, how impressed were you by Balbuena on Saturday? Will he and Diop forge a long-term partnership? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…