As far as left-field signings go, talk of Nene to West Ham this week has been… erm… out there. The Brazilian was recently released by Qatar side Al-Gharafa and is believed to have undergone a medical in east London ahead of a short-term deal to join the Hammers.
A few weeks ago a fair few Irons supports probably hadn’t even heard of the 33-year-old, and we think they would have been better off keeping it that way.
Here are FIVE reasons we think this deal is destined to be one to forget…
No disrespect to the Qatar Stars League, but it’s not exactly on a par with many top-level European divisions. The Middle Eastern game is so far behind the elite competitions that it’s simply impossible for players to maintain any sort of ability in comparable ability to those plying their trade in the best set-ups, meaning that Nene’s decline could be a worry.
The Brazilian opted to cancel his contract with Al-Gharafa, read into that what you will, on the back of two years in Qatar, in which time he netted 20 goals in 43 showings.
At 33, soon to be 34, Nene is clearly at the back end of his career. The tricky and versatile attacker used to be a decent performer in the French top tier, but PSG’s cash injection coincided with his move away from the club. More than 10 goals per season between 2009 and 2012 in Ligue 1 – the last of which he notched 21 – shows that he was once a dangerous forward, but the years have a way of being unkind to pacey goalscorers, and adjusting to a demanding league now will be tricky.
With Andy Carroll injured and the goals at Upton Park drying up, Nene looks like a desperate throw if the dice to get the Hammers’ top four charge back on track. Since the turn of 2015 Sam Allardyce’s men have slipped away from a shock Champions League charge, and now look in danger of missing out on a spot in the Europa League – albeit the competition can be a poison chalice.
Last gasp, panic buys rarely come to fruition, and with Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho more than able to bang in the goals, Nene is not really needed.
As much as Allardyce claims he’s not into direct football, West Ham are a physical ‘up and at ‘em’ type team when at their best. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, despite the negative words from ‘tiki taka’ hipsters, but only certain types of players can really thrive in such a system. Nene is not too dissimilar to summer arrival Mauro Zarate in terms of approach, and with the former Lazio man now at QPR on loan you can reach your own verdict on what is appreciated in east London.
Remember Mladen Petric? Nope? Razvan Rat? Meh… West Ham don’t have a great record of snapping up free agents, so learning from mistakes could be wise. Carlton Cole has contributed, to an extent, since being brought back in from the footballing wilderness, but even his toils – he has bags of English top tier experience – show that freebies are not always bargains…