A glance at how Maxi Gomez has turned his difficult start at Valencia around will leave West Ham United wondering what might have been.
The long-running transfer battle between West Ham and Valencia fell in favour of the La Liga side over the summer.
West Ham were desperate for a striker and chased Uruguayan youngster Gomez from January onwards (Telegraph).
Valencia got their man, though, and at the time Hammers fans were left cursing another fruitless striker chase.
Champions League football and sunnier climes had won the day for the Spanish outfit over West Ham’s more lucrative contract.
Haller second best to Gomez in the summer and now
In the end West Ham spent their £45million elsewhere on record capture Sebatien Haller (BBC Sport).
And it had looked money well spent as West Ham and Haller made a promising start to the season while Gomez struggled badly at Valencia.
The tables have well and truly turned over the winter, though.
Haller – regardless of the justified school of thought that West Ham have been using the Frenchman all wrong as a lone striker – has looked a costly waste of money.
Stuck on six goals from 27 games, Haller has not scored since New Year’s Day.
More worryingly he has barely registered a shot since then and West Ham have failed to win in the five Premier League games too.
With Manchester City and Liverpool up next that could stretch to seven games.
The Bull showing West Ham what they are missing
Meanwhile Gomez has steadily improved and has netted double figures with 10 goals to his name from 28 appearances, many of those as a substitute.
What is more impressive is that nine of those have come in 19 league starts.
Gomez will be looking to make it a goal every other game with his 10th league striker for Valencia in Saturday’s game against Atletico Madrid.
If he does that will propel Los Che above Diego Simeone’s side into the Champions League spots.
It is a competition Valencia have proved they belong in having made the last 16 where a tie against Atalanta presents them with a genuine chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Hammers have Haller decision to make in summer
Had Haller made more of an impact, and had West Ham not thrown away a league highest 19 points this season, the Hammers could well be in a similar position.
Instead David Moyes is left counting the cost of what is looking an expensive mistake from Manuel Pellegrini and Mario Husillos to blow most of their budget on Haller without the foresight to sign someone to partner him.
It is difficult to say whether West Ham would be better off had they managed to land their prime target over Haller.
But the young Uruguayan certainly puts himself about more than the former Eintracht Frankfurt man.
Even when he has not scored he has been contributing to his side’s success.
That is highlighted by the fact Gomez has received four man of the match awards, three of them when he has not been on the scoresheet.
Another key aspect is personality. Haller is quiet, unassuming and unaggressive. Gomez is fiery, tough, described as ‘the bull’ as he leads from the front like a modern day Nat Lofthouse.
The big hope for West Ham will be that they can somehow survive this season and then sign a proper partner for Haller or indeed offload him for a decent fee and revisit their striker options.