West Ham United look set to seal the signing of Said Benrahma but the move has divided opinion among some fans.
It comes after a deal worth up to £30million was struck between West Ham and Brentford and personal terms were agreed.
The impending transfer has drawn fierce criticism from some Hammers fans, though.
And while some legitimately good points have been made, much of it is lazy criticism.
Let’s address each one.
The biggest question raised by many West Ham supporters is why. Fans are asking why, when West Ham already had a player of similar ilk to Benrahma in Grady Diangana – ie quick and outrageously skilful – did they sell a homegrown Hammer to only end up paying more for another wing wizard with arguably less experience in the top flight?
It will be perhaps the most difficult point for West Ham’s board to justify.
The shadow of Grady Diangana and a transfer gamble
There are several strands to this. West Ham claimed they needed to raise money to buy a top defender or two.
Vladimir Coufal arrived to solve the right-back problem and looks an astute buy.
But the rest of the window was spent trying and failing to find a quality centre back – as David Moyes admitted recently (whufc.com).
The club settled on the loan of Craig Dawson from Watford to act as fourth or fifth choice back-up instead. There is the suggestion that is because West Ham will resume their centre-back search next summer.
Undoubtedly, though, the discovery of a successful new formation and setup also played a part. What was a desperate need for a new centre-back is no longer so acute.
So the gamble to sell Grady did not pay off. But it was done and dusted, West Ham couldn’t turn back. And while it is clearly poor planning and recruitment from West Ham, Diangana’s exit – followed by the loan exit of the desperately out of sorts Felipe Anderson – left the club short in that position.
Manuel Lanzini is a busted flush too and Jack Wilshere has departed.
So the notion that West Ham don’t “need” Benrahma – off the back of a couple of strong performances of late – is a fallacy.
He can play left and central and will be a quality addition. And every squad needs options.
Benrahma’s breathtaking stats
Then there is the claim that Diangana is the better player and has more Premier League experience. That too is very open to debate.
Yes Diangana has made 23 appearances in the top flight – many as a sub – for West Ham and West Brom.
When he first broke into the Hammers team under Manuel Pellegrini he was a revelation for a handful of games.
But he was quickly found out and faded. Hence his loan to West Brom and the Championship in the first place.
Diangana flourished there and is undoubtedly a Premier League talent. But after a fast start to the season he has one goal for the Baggies who are without a win and being tipped for an instant return to the Championship.
Benrahma may not have Premier League experience yet. But he does have the same amount of top flight experience as Diangana.
The 25-year-old played 31 games in Ligue 1 for Nice and Angers as a younger player, netting four goals and a number of assists.
He is also a fully fledged international Algerian international.
Diangana’s stats in the Championship were great. But the truth is they can’t begin to compare to Benrahma’s.
The man expected to join West Ham today scored 17 goals and registered 10 assists for Brentford last season.
And in his two seasons – and three games this – has a phenomenal record of 57 goal involvements in 94 games, 30 of them goals and 27 assists.
The numbers are staggering.
Lazy to suggest he is lazy
And the suggestion that the Premier League is arbitrarily difficult is another fallacy. Yes there are quality sides. But as evidenced this season and last the quality of defending in the Prem is some of the worst witnessed in Europe’s top leagues.
The last round of results are the perfect example with Aston Villa thrashing Liverpool 7-2 and Manchester United being battered 6-1 by Spurs.
Even West Ham have smashed seven past Wolves and Leicester of late.
This is no 1990s Serie A where defending was an art form and even the world’s best struggled to hit big numbers.
If anything a player like Benrahma will be licking his lips at the prospect of the Premier League stage.
Next is the suggestion from some West Ham fans that Benrahma is lazy.
He may not turn out to be a workhorse like Pablo Fornals – who by the way is being played out of position on the left and must eventually revert to a more central role to fulfil his undoubted potential – but Benrahma is not lazy.
Benrahma has been playing for one of the most high intensity pressing teams in the Championship. That’s 46 games of defending from the front first minute to the last. And with great success.
It is lazy to suggest he is lazy. Because he does indeed work hard, he is not ‘just flicks and tricks’.
It’s far too simplistic a view for people to paint him as lazy just because he is talented.
West Ham don’t need him? Pull the other one. West Ham have needed a player like Benrahma ever since Dimitri Payet left the club three and a half years ago.
West Ham ALWAYS need talented players like Benrahma. The club may have taken an unconventional route to get him but they left themselves exposed and moved to correct it.
Claims that Moyes doesn’t fancy Benrahma or would prefer Josh King are just that, claims. We don’t truly kn0w. The Scot has been clear that HE calls the shots on transfer decisions.
Moyes is in charge, why would it be any different now
West Ham fans have bemoaned the fact Moyes has turned his nose up at a host of players including Antonee Robinson, Ryan Manning and others.
So why would it be any different for Benrahma?
And the inference that he is not a ‘Moyes type’ is more rubbish. Young, athletic, energetic and hungry to prove himself in the top flight is EXACTLY Moyes’s type as he has stated countless times when laying out his vision for a new-look West Ham.
The likes of Steven Pienaar and Lanzini during Moyes’s first spell make a mockery of that claim.
Yes you can argue the semantics of the signing and question the owners. In an ideal world you keep Diangana AND sign Benrahma, have two top players for every position and push for the Champions League.
But West Ham fans know this is not an ideal world under Sullivan and David Gold’s stewardship.
The signing of Said Benrahma is dividing some West Ham fans. But it really shouldn’t be. Hammers fans should embrace it, enjoy him and be excited at what he can add to a team that seem to be going in the right direction on the pitch for the first time in a long time.