Right at the end of a pretty underwhelming transfer window West Ham United confirmed the loan signing of Fenerbahce forward Emmanuel Emenike, on a deal that will run until the end of the season.
Most Hammers have been delighted with the move and have welcomed the powerful Nigerian to their ranks. But what can he bring, and most importantly, can he help West Ham with their continued push towards the European places?
The 6ft striker is well-travelled, having played in Europe and at a few levels across the world. Moves to Turkey, Russia, a return to Turkey and a trip to the UAE have kept Emenike busy the past few years, and he has scored 80 goals in nine years.
The frontman knows manager Slaven Bilic well, having worked in the same division as him whilst with Lokomotiv Moscow and when Bilic was in the hotseat at Besiktas.
Another plus for the Hammers is the option to make the deal a permanent one in the summer, something that could prove difficult as a result of the number of strikers already at the club. Had they been obliged to sign him, their numbers could have been set to swell to a near unmanageable level.
But it all depends on Emenike’s performances in London, so what can he bring to the mix?
The first thing is genuine power. Despite only being 6ft, Emenike is built like a truck. He is extremely strong and can offer fantastic build up opportunities, something that could be extremely useful in bringing players like Dimitri Payet into the game.
He also has a surprising yard of pace for such a big striker. He has proved this at all levels in his career, and as well as being able to hold the ball up to good effect, Emenike can also beat a man too. In Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, the Hammers already have two extremely quick strikers and adding the Nigerian international to the mix makes an extremely formidable front three.
Emenike is also very skilful. Put his name into any internet browser or search him on YouTube and you’ll see clip after clip of silky feet that lead to penalty after penalty or goal after goal. Put the three components together any you have a very able striker who can cause damage to any defence at this level.
This is the surprising factor to me in this deal – how has he not secured a Premier League move already?
This is only a benefit for West Ham: again they have proved that they can attract players that can arguably play at the highest level. They can offer Emenike a potential return to European football (if they stay in the mix at the top end of the Premier League) and game time.
With Sakho and Andy Carroll injured for lengthy periods of time, there is definitely a chance for the Nigeria international to impress the West Ham faithful.
And with a move to the Olympic Stadium edging ever closer, it’s a very lucrative time to be at West Ham. When his loan move ends at the end of the season and the chance to sign a permanent deal comes around, I’d be surprised if Emenike didn’t jump at the chance, and if the Hammers are keen, too.