From Dimitri Payet to the double signing of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, West Ham United have had some highly controversial, to say the least signings throughout their history.
And now with co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan in charge and with the move from Upton Park to a new 60,000 London Stadium, it seems the club will look to bring in many more big names in future, which of course means sometimes, with big named players they come with a huge ego and a spotlight surrounding their heads for the media pack who will be ready to pounce at any given opportunity.
Here are five of the most controversial players the Hammers have brought to the club over the last ten years:
The Frenchman arrived from Marseille in 2015 and was unknown to many, especially English supporters, yet within a few weeks of the season, he was catching the eye of every football fan around the world. His ball control, flair and crossing ability was arguably one of the best that Hammers fans have ever witnessed, and after some incredible free-kick goals, he had won the hearts of every West Ham spectator. After guiding the Hammers to their highest Premier League finish in the clubs history (7th) and winning his place back into the France national team for Euro 2016, the writing was all the wall as to where Dimitri would end up. Big clubs were linked all summer but coach Slaven Bilic and joint chairmen Gold and Sullivan insisted all parties wanted to remain in East London and help the club progress into the new London Stadium as they were looking to push into the top six.
That was the dream anyway but unfortunately, fairy tales don’t exist in East London, the Frenchmen returned from Euro 2016 as a losing finalist and a runner-up as the player of the tournament. He returned to West Ham but didn’t look himself, a solo goal against Middlesbrough had the Hammers believing he was back to his best, but in January, he refused to train with his team-mates and told the club he wanted to leave. This broke the hearts of everyone involved in the club, from the board, manager to all the players and of course the fans who had a song about him and just simply loved him. So when Marseille came back in for Payet in January 2017, a £25 millon deal was reluctantly agreed, and a hero turned into a villain. To this day the name Dimitri Payet is rarely mentioned from West Ham fans lips and his sulk will go down as one of the most controversial transfers in the clubs history.
Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano:
Back in the summer of 2006, then manager Alan Pardew pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the Premier League’s history let alone West Ham’s. An Argentine duo by the names of Mascherano and Tevez arrived from Brazilian club Corinthians in what was one of the most confusing transfers of all time. Kia Joorabchian was the agent who handled the deal and the weirdest part of it all was the pair were owned by a third-party company, third-party ownership of players was strictly forbidden by the Premier League and serious consequences are enforced if this rule was ever found to be breached. So as Mascherano struggled to break into the first team due to a massively impressive Hayden Mullins, Tevez became a hero as he single handily kept West Ham in the League after a terrible campaign in which they survived on the final day with a 1-0 win over Manchester United, Tevez, of course, scored the winner. Sheffield United were relegated after the Hammers final day drama and blamed the drop down the leagues on West Ham and the whole Argentine duo signings. The East Londoners managed to wiggle free from any massive point deductions or any other punishment, just a fine and the rest is history.
Gianfranco Zola, a wonderful footballer who wowed Premier League supporters whilst at Chelsea, unfortunately, his management skills and judgement on other players were not quite as good. He persuaded the board to spend £9 million on Savio back in 2009 and also handed the young man the number 10 shirt. Back then that was a lot of money and for West Ham, it seemed a great deal.
It backfired massively as the winger only made ten appearances for the club and during that time hardly touched the ball or managed a shot on goal; it was clear he was lightweight and not up to Premier League standards. After only the one start and not a single goal, he was somehow sold to Fiorentina for €2.7 million and a player swap. He failed in Italy and his life outside of football has gone downhill rapidly. In October 2012, Nsereko was arrested by the police in the Thailand resort of Pattaya on a false kidnap claim. He had reportedly attempted to extort €25,000 from his family by telling them he had been kidnapped and demanding a ransom…. one to forget for Zola and West Ham I think.
Mention this name around East London and you will be given an evil look, Scaloni is a player who arrived at West Ham back in 2006 and took over the right-back role from fellow hard man Thomas Repka. He was on loan for six months and fans did take to him for his aggressive style, but they soon turned on him after an action during the FA Cup final against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. As the Hammers were leading 3-2 going into the last seconds of the game, the ball arrived in the Argentine’s right-back position, and whilst under pressure to clear the ball into the stands, instead he decided to hit the ball up field in play and it ended up falling to the feet of Steven Gerrard who scored from 40 yards. Alan Pardew’s side fought hard but lost on penalties and of course West Ham supporters were heartbroken, looking for any excuse, unfortunately for Scaloni his clearance is the blame and he will always remain a controversial figure.
Yes ok he has just joined West Ham and people may feel this is a strange one, but if you live and breathe the Hammers you will know the club have needed a striker since Dean Ashton, they have had to put up with the likes of a very overweight Benni McCarthy to Carlton Cole, who bless him tried hard but couldn’t get the goals he craved. So now Chicarito has arrived on English soil for the second time having previously played for Manchester United, he could well become one of the most controversial signings in West Ham’s history. At £16 million the Mexican seems a bargain and his proven goal record will excite fans so if he could carry this on and help the Hammers progress up the League and maybe into Europe, he would become a hero that’s for sure…watch this space!