The following article is a special report; all information presented has been gleaned from Football FanCast sources unless otherwise stated.
West Ham United have been forced to rely upon second-choice goalkeeper Roberto this season because of a lack of due diligence from the club, per Football FanCast sources.
Roberto has yet to be on the winning side – conceding 12 goals in total – and made a terrible mistake against Burnley last time out, punching a corner into his own net as the Irons lost 3-0.
The club’s Director of Football, Mario Husillos, who was appointed in 2018, led the signing of Roberto, who played under him at Malaga.
Indeed, there is a feeling at the club that Husillos was allowed to lead the signing because of a general lack of interest in goalkeeper recruitment from co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan.
While the Hammers brought two goalkeepers into the club with the signing of David Martin, and one centre-back, in Goncalo Cardoso, they primarily focused on bolstering their attack, hence the acquisitions of Sebastian Haller, Pablo Fornals and Albian Ajeti.
Sources have suggested that the real legwork is put into the more expensive signings, the acquisitions that can be lauded on Twitter and lead to praise from fans.
Scouts were sent to watch Haller on several occasions before the summer window, for example, having also been dispatched to run the rule over Maxi Gomez, though no deal was done for the latter forward. The same goes for Fornals.
Sources have been unable to confirm whether the club actually watched Roberto play at all before he was signed, instead going on Husillos’ – and to a lesser extent Pellegrini’s – word.
That becomes all the more baffling when one considers that he was actually deemed a first-choice for the position ahead of Fabianski at one point.
Thus far, he has conceded four in a cup game against Oxford United and his only clean sheet has come against Newport County.
Martin, the other goalkeeper signed, is a West Ham fan and had left Millwall at the end of the season.
It was a similar story when the club signed Joe Hart from Manchester City in 2017. Agents made it clear he was available on a loan deal and the Hammers did it, more on the basis of reputation than performances.
He was not thoroughly scouted and he conceded 39 goals in just 19 Premier League appearances.
It is a running theme for West Ham. Since Gold & Sullivan’s arrival in 2010, they have signed 49 attackers, 11 goalkeepers and 26 defenders. It is clear where their priorities lie.
This season, one must consider that money was available to strengthen – over £60m was spent on Fornals and Haller alone – but the club focused on bringing in cheap reinforcements for a position in need of significant depth and not for the first time.
That they didn’t appear to even scout Roberto, let alone thoroughly, is a dereliction of duty, even if Husillos knew the player well.
It remains to be seen if they will ever make the same mistake again, so poor has his start to life in east London been.