If West Ham United boss David Moyes did not intend to sign a striker last month then why did he let two leave.
That is the question West Ham fans will be asking themselves this week.
The Hammers are already paying the price for leaving themselves with injury prone Michail Antonio as their only senior striker.
It took just a week for irony to slap West Ham around the face. Antonio went lame before the club’s biggest game of the season. And it was so painfully predictable.
Instant window regret for West Ham as Antonio goes lame before biggest game of the season
Without him the Hammers exited the cup without testing a Man United side that were there for the taking.
Meanwhile the two strikers Moyes allowed to leave the club were impressing elsewhere.
Haller scored a brace as Ajax beat PSV to advance to the semi-finals of the Dutch cup.
That ship has sailed and the £20m raised from the Haller sale will – Moyes says – be spent in the summer instead.
If selling Haller and not replacing him was questionable, allowing debut goalscorer Afolayan to leave is baffling
But perhaps more baffling having sold the Ivorian and decided against replacing him last month, was Moyes’s decision to sanction a loan move for striker Oladapo Afolayan.
While raw academy prospect Mipo Odubeko struggled to impress and was double subbed within an hour against Man United, Afolayan stood out on his debut for loan club Bolton.
Afolayan scored on his West Ham debut in a 4-0 win over Doncaster last month.
This is no up-and-coming youngster that needs to learn the ropes. Afolayan turns 24 at the start of next season. And he has played senior football for the likes of Solihull Moors, Oldham and Mansfield.
Even if Moyes does not believe Afolayan has a long-term future at West Ham, why let him leave when your Premier League squad possesses just one forward?
Has Moyes dropped a clanger as Bolton boss calls West Ham striker as ‘magic’
Well Bolton aren’t complaining.
Wanderers boss Ian Evatt was delighted with Afolayan after a 30-minute debut cameo. He called the West Ham striker ‘magic’ and has backed him to do well for the Trotters.
“Dapo is magic, a talented boy,” Evatt told Manchester Evening News.
“You saw glimpses but it’s a shame we didn’t see them in full flow, really, Madders (fellow loanee Marcus Maddison) and Dapo, because they were brought on to win us the game, to extend the lead and kill the game off, and they combined quite quickly for the chance that was saved.”
Afolayan described scoring for West Ham as a ‘dream come true’. And West Ham’s senior players including captain Mark Noble were delighted for the forward.
Why he wasn’t kept in and around the squad with West Ham so desperately short of options – even before Antonio’s injury – is anyone’s guess.