For much of the last decade or so, West Ham United have so often splashed the cash too readily in the transfer market, resulting in a long list of forgettable faces who have come and gone in the GSB era.
However, while the club and its owners are likely to regret the notable expensive mistakes they’ve made in recent times – namely club-record flop Sebastian Haller – they should also be ruing the occasions when they didn’t get out the cheque book, having missed out on a handful of potential stars.
One such missed opportunity is that of N’Golo Kante, with the current Chelsea sensation having been earmarked as a potential new addition way back in 2015 during Slaven Bilic’s time in charge, only for the club to fail to get the deal over the line.
Reports at the time suggested that the Hammers were very much interested in the then Caen midfielder, with L’Equipe hinting that the Premier League outfit were close to placing an offer for the diminutive Frenchman.
It is believed that a £5m bid would have been enough to prise the Paris-born man from his homeland, although the east London outfit inexplicably fumbled the deal, with the player instead joining Leicester City in a £5.6m move later that summer.
What makes such a head-scratching decision even more baffling is the fact that rather than pursue the 5 foot 6 dynamo, David Sullivan and co instead opted to sign former Arsenal man Alex Song on another season-long loan deal from Barcelona, having already had the Cameroonian at the club the previous season.
The 49-cap international would go on to make just 12 top-flight appearances that season before eventually moving on to Rubin Kazan, while elsewhere that man Kante helped to drag Claudio Ranieri’s plucky Foxes to a remarkable title triumph.
A £30m move to Chelsea followed after just a solitary season at the King Power Stadium, with the 31-year-old having since tasted European glory – in both the Champions League and Europa League – while also winning the World Cup with Les Bleus.
Dubbed “magic” by former Chelsea teammate Cesc Fabregas, the £45m-rated ace has also been labelled as “like a magnet to the ball” by pundit Rio Ferdinand, such is the consistent, all-action quality he has shown since his arrival in English football.
While there has been a suggestion that his powers are on the wane, even in his current form he would be an ideal presence in David Moyes’ side, with the prospect of him and Declan Rice partnering together a truly mouthwatering one.
As it happens, however, that duo could well feature together, just not for the Irons, with Rice having been heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge this summer.
If only West Ham had forked out that measly £5m for Kante…