Sam Allardyce did a lot of wheeling and dealing at West Ham United over the summer, but securing the services of the outstanding Aaron Cresswell may just have been the best bit of business out of the lot.
The 25-year-old started his career with Tranmere Rovers, before spending three solid years in the Championship with Ipswich Town. The defender made 132 league appearances for the Tractor Boys, before finally being given the chance to express himself in the Premier League by Sam Allardyce and West Ham.
With all the exciting transfers going on at West Ham over the summer, you couldn’t really blame the Hammers fans for being slightly underwhelmed by the capture of Aaron Cresswell. But as things have transpired, the left-back has made a strong case so far this season for being The Hammers’ singing of the season. Cresswell has started all of West Ham United’s 22 league games, playing an important part in West Ham’s lofty seventh position – hot on the heels of the Premier League big boys for a European spot.
The defender has been a revelation at the Boleyn Ground so far, and he got forward to supply with the winner in the 1-0 home win over Newcastle United in late November. After performing so well in east London this season, it makes you wonder what took so long for a top flight manager to take a punt on the 25-year-old.
His £3.75m fee is starting to look like a real bargain for the Hammers, and he is quickly becoming not only a superb left-back for West Ham, but one of the Premier League’s finest. The Irons certainly needed to address their defensive problems after leaking 51 Premier League goals last term; and bringing in Cresswell represents another touch of genius from the West Ham boss.
This time last season, West Ham occupied 18th place in the Premier League table – with just four wins to their name. This term has been an absolute far cry from these days, with Big Sam’s side having secured ten wins thus far, turning them from relegation fodder to genuine top six contenders.
The question on many West Ham supporters lips is can they maintain their incredible league form? Obviously only time will tell, but they do have a real important month coming up, as they take on Liverpool, Manchester United, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur in their next four games. After these encounters, we will have a much clearer picture of which direction West Ham’s season is going to go.
Allardyce – who the Daily Mail had tipped to lose his job before the season even started – has done remarkably well at Upton Park this season. Capturing good players is one thing, but gelling them together as quickly and effectively as he has done is another thing entirely.
Whatever happens this season at the Boleyn Ground, nothing can be taken away from the Hammers’ magnificent turnaround in fortunes – and the signing and development of Aaron Cresswell just epitomises the excellent job Big Sam has done there.