Although West Ham suffered their fifth defeat of the season against Newcastle United on Saturday, Slaven Bilic’s side still have plenty to be positive about so far this campaign.
The once impending threat of relegation hasn’t troubled the Upton Park faithful this term, the Boleyn Ground crowd have certainly taken to their new beanie-wearing manager on the side-lines and, as several of Bilic’s impressive summer signings seem to have hit the ground running, the East End outfit remain in good shape with the rest of the current campaign to be decided.
However, although the likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini have taken most of the plaudits at West Ham thus far, the somewhat lesser recognised Pedro Obiang has also thrived for the Hammers whenever given the chance in the middle of the park.
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So, even if the rest of the English top-flight remain largely unaware of what the 23-year-old Spanish midfielder can bring to the table, does Pedro Obiang actually represent West Ham’s most underrated signing of 2015/16?
As the former Serie A star hardly arrived at Upton Park with the most established reputation, perhaps it should come as little surprise that few have admittedly seen fit to praise the Spaniard for his recent exploits.
Obiang gathered a decent following during his time spent at Sampdoria in the Italian league. His impressive range of ability eventually won him an opportunity to test his trade in the Premier League, and although Obiang has struggled to hold down a regular first team place thus far, the Upton Park faithful seem more and more impressed with the ball-playing midfield man the more they get to see of him.
And for an overall transfer fee of just £4.4 million this summer, West Ham may have very well landed themselves a massive bargain in young Spaniard. In a market that has recently seen Benik Afobe move to AFC Bournemouth for £10m, and Jonjo Shelvey sealing a move to Newcastle for £12m, the 23-year-old former Sampdoria star certainly seems to represent genuine value for money.
When it comes to playing the ball calmly out from the back, finding the odd through-ball forward that often unlocks defences with effective style, and simply providing a willing pair of legs to break up play, this is a player who has rarely disappointed for West Ham this season.
He may not be the strongest central-midfielder the Premier League has ever seen, and he definitely is no ‘Andrea Pirlo’, but in the rather understated figure of Pedro Obiang the Hammers have discovered an impressive jack of all trades, yet perhaps a master of none.
However, as Slaven Bilic already has the likes of Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate and Alex Song to count on this term, Obiang’s own effective range of ability seems to compliment the current Hammers squad a great deal.
The up and coming Spaniard has often outshone several of his West Ham counterparts at times this season, for although both Noble and Kouyate bring their fair share to the table, neither player is ultimately as composed on the ball as Obiang. The former Serie A midfielder has even taken much of the spotlight away from Alex Song this term, who is yet to rediscover full fitness for the Hammers since rejoining for a second season on loan from Barcelona.
It seems the education offered to Obiang from the Spain U21 set-up has really served to benefit the midfielder in the Premier League, and even if several non-Hammers fans have failed to notice just how efficient the 23-year-old can prove on his day, this a player who looks likely to progress further with the growing support of the Upton Park faithful on his side.