Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes West Ham United have pulled off a major coup by signing Pablo Fornals, per the club’s official website.
Fornals completed a £24m move to the Irons last week.
Indeed, Football FanCast understands that manager Manuel Pellegrini personally requested the signing of the attacking midfielder, who scored five goals and registered six assists in 2018/19.
He has won two full caps for Spain and will play for his country’s Under-21 team at the European Championships this summer, and Balague has expressed his surprise that the Irons were able to snaffle him away from Spain.
He said: “I am surprised other clubs – Champions League clubs – did not move for him, to be honest, but their loss is West Ham’s gain, for sure.
“He is a player who will play near to the edge of the opposition penalty area, as an advanced playmaker or inside forward, where he can hurt teams with his vision, his passing and his dribbling.”
Fornals is known for his exceptional trickery – one clip doing the rounds on Twitter shows him embarrassing a defender in a barely describable way – but his pace and technicality will surely endear him to the Hammers’ faithful too.
Yet one thing that must also be praised is the speed at which the Hammers concluded this deal.
Balague is right to claim that he could do a job for a Champions League club and yet, here he is, in East London.
West Ham were attempting to broker a deal to sign Stanislav Lobotka from Celta Vigo but when the cost soared, Pellegrini instructed the club to work on a move for Fornals instead.
A week later, he is at the London Stadium.
This is not the West Ham of old, who let deals drag on to the point where they had to sign their third or fourth-choice target.
That can only bode well for the 2019/20 season.