Kurt Zouma may have – inexplicably for some – been allowed by Chelsea to join West Ham United but he’s already loving life in east London.
There aren’t many fronts on which West Ham can compete with the new age Chelsea.
The differences are clear. Chelsea are the reigning European champions while West Ham have just played their first bona fide European game for 15 years.
But when it comes to fans and following there is no comparison.
West Ham can’t compete with Chelsea on many fronts but when it comes to fans it is no contest
Chelsea fans have dined on a generous diet of constant success with the finest silverware under Roman Abramovich. West Ham have been starved of a major trophy for over 40 years.
Yet West Ham sell out their 60,000 seater stadium and away allocations every week while also having the second most season ticket holders in the Premier League.
Money talks in football and for Chelsea it has bought the kind of success and trophies West Ham can only dream of.
What money West Ham do have looks to have been spent remarkably well, though, on David Moyes’s summer shopping trip to west London.
Fans and pundits bemused as to why Chelsea let brilliant Zouma join West Ham
Chelsea fans, pundits such as Paul Merson and Glen Johnson to name but a few, and now West Ham supporters are baffled as to why the Blues have allowed Zouma to join them in a £29m deal.
West Ham finished just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea last season. That’s one win.
Yet Thomas Tuchel elected to allow the 26-year-old – statistically the Premier League’s best defender last season – to join the Hammers.
Zouma instantly showed his class on his West Ham debut in a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night.
Thousands of Hammers make mockery of short notice and difficult travel situation to to pack out away allocation
Of course West Ham were roared on by a full allocation in the away section at the Stadion Maksimir.
West Ham even secured extra tickets for the game in Croatia due to demand. Hammers fans had less than a week between tickets going on sale and the match.
Despite the short notice and the current difficulties surrounding international travel, the extra allocation sold out too.
Indeed there were plenty of West Ham fans who made their way out to Zagreb without tickets just to take in the atmosphere of a European tour.
He may have left the Euro champs, but Zouma could not fail to be instantly impressed by West Ham’s claret and blue army (whufc.com).
“We know that it was West Ham’s first game in the Europa League (group stages), but we have some experienced guys here and a game is a game, 11 v 11, and you never know what’s going to happen,” Zouma told whufc.com.
Zouma left European champs Chelsea but he’s already blown away by West Ham fans
“Seriously, thanks to them (the West Ham fans), because there were a lot of fans here supporting us! And the game was for them.
“We did it well for them and they really deserve it. Hopefully we can keep them happy and make ourselves happy too.
“I’m settling in very well. I’ve met some top guys, top players, top people around me. It’s like a family – my new family here – and I’m very happy to be here.”
Happy indeed. After all that is Zouma’s middle name.
The France centre-back is already looking a steal. Long may it continue.