It is no secret that West Ham United have a dismal track record when it comes to making centre-forward additions in recent years, with the GSB era having been littered with bizarre and at times costly transfer mistakes.
Among a lengthy list which includes the likes of Mido, Lucas Perez and Jordan Hugill, to name just a few, is Ecuador striker Enner Valencia, the diminutive speedster having failed to truly make his mark in English football.
Signed for £12m in the summer of 2014 after hitting 18 goals in just 24 games for Mexican outfit Pachuca, the 5 foot 9 marksman was expected to hit the ground running at Upton Park, particularly having netted three times during a standout World Cup campaign in Brazil.
Although his arrival seemed something of a coup at the time, it quickly became apparent that the club – and then-manager Sam Allardyce – had fallen for the age-old trap of signing a player off the back of some impressive yet fleeting displays at a major tournament.
A stunning goal on his full league debut against Hull City looked like it would be the start of a bright spell in the Premier League for the versatile forward, but that early-season effort would be just one of four league goals that he scored in his first campaign in east London.
The former Emelec man would go on to score just four more league goals in 2015/16. albeit having spent much of the season on the treatment table due to injury, before being shipped out on loan to Everton in August 2016.
However, despite being labelled “strong” by then-Everton manager Ronald Koeman, he fared little better on Merseyside. He was waiting until January 2017 to score his first of three league goals for the Toffees, with the Goodison Park outfit unsurprisingly declining the opportunity to sign him on a permanent deal for a reported fee of £14.5m.
During that stint on loan, Valencia also sparked controversy for appearing to fake an injury during a match for his country, leaving the field in an ambulance in order to escape the clutches of the police, who were pursuing him for failing to pay child maintenance bills.
Unsurprisingly, following his return to east London at the end of the 2016/17 season, the 70-cap Ecuador international was subsequently sold on to Tigres in a deal worth between £6m and £7m, with the Irons taking a loss on their initial investment.
In the end, the Hammers would likely have just been wishing to get the £40k-per-week dud off their books as quickly as possible, having cost them £1.5m per league goal in relation to his transfer fee.
After three seasons back in Mexico – where he scored 34 goals in 118 appearances in all competitions – the £2.61m-rated man was signed by Turkish club Fenerbache on a free transfer in the summer of 2020, with the 32-year-old netting 24 goals in 67 appearances since then.
A reliable goalscorer elsewhere, it simply didn’t work out for him in England, with West Ham left to look back on what was simply an expensive mistake.