Things have not worked out for Said Benrahma at West Ham United so far.
And until they do Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze will continue to be mentioned.
West Ham and Crystal Palace fans all know the well-trodden story by now.
Hammers boss David Moyes wanted Eze from QPR in the summer.
But West Ham did not have the £16m – plus a further £4 in potential add-ons – to get a deal done until they had sold Grady Diangana.
Shadow of West Ham’s failed Eze bid hangs over Benrahma as he struggles to convince Moyes
Moyes has since admitted Eze was his first choice and revealed why West Ham missed out on signing him (Claret and Hugh).
In the end Crystal Palace got Eze and West Ham signed Benrahma, initially on loan and then making the deal permanent for £25m in January.
The story goes that co-owner David Sullivan signed Benrahma via agent Will Salthouse – a close friend of his sons Dave and Jack.
Apparently Moyes was not convinced and wanted Josh King instead.
And it seems the Scot remains unconvinced even now. Benrahma has struggled to establish himself at West Ham.
He has not started many games and if he does the Algerian rarely finishes them.
Moyes has been strict with Benrahma. The Scot has demanded he do more defensively, be more efficient with the ball and warned he must stop trying to force that first goal.
Benrahma himself has spoken out saying he feels at his best when he is ‘let off the leash’ – read the full story here.
The Algerian was famous for his audacious skill and moments in games – particularly for Brentford – which went viral online.
Chelsea cameo sums up West Ham playmaker’s debut season
But a clip of him electing to shoot from 35 yards out when West Ham had filled the box in the dying moments against Chelsea was the focus of Twitter attention after his latest substitute appearance.
It takes a brave man to question Moyes given the amazing turnaround he has overseen at the London Stadium.
Some fans have pointed to Benrahma’s lack of consistent game time, though. Many West Ham supporters feel his skills are not being utilised as yet.
Others feel that Benrahma simply is not up to Premier League level – at the moment anyway.
The mention of Eze is never far away. And many West Ham fans bemoan the fact they did not sign the 22-year-old.
But is Eze really that much better than Benrahma? The statistics suggest he is not and Benrahma hasn’t even got going in a West Ham shirt.
Eze has played consistently since signing for Palace and been given a proper run in the team.
He has made 30 Premier League appearances this season, starting 25 of them.
Benrahma meanwhile has made 25 appearances and has started just 11 times.
And guess what, the playmakers both have four assists.
But is Eze really that much better than Benrahma? The statistics suggest not
Eze has managed three goals – but had Benrahma played more consistently he would probably have broken his duck by now too.
Benrahma’s contributions have won West Ham crucial points against Fulham, Aston Villa twice, Leeds and Palace themselves.
In the game at Selhurst Park in particular Benrahma was excellent in helping the Hammers do the double over the Eagles.
Eze is undoubtedly an excellent and exciting player. But some fans are perhaps being too quick to judge Benrahma.
Yes the West Ham man clearly has to improve his decision making.
But he should not be written off yet. He, like Eze, was predominantly brought in to create chances and goals for his teammates.
The West Ham playmaker has managed as many assists as Eze in less than half the starts.
Benrahma will hopefully put this season down as a learning curve and West Ham will really start to see the best of him next term – hopefully in Europe.
For Palace and Eze, midtable mediocrity is the very best they can hope for this season.