In summer of 2016, Slaven Bilic had guided West Ham to a seventh-place finish in the Premier League the season before and optimism was sweeping through the club (keeping the pitch at their new home at bay then). With the move to the former Olympic Stadium, Slaven Bilic was given some money to spend by co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold.
16 new players arrived in east London at a cost of £36.9million. On the other side, 22 players departed as the club recouped more than £75million. It yielded a very underwhelming season as West Ham finished 11th in the league and were dumped out of the Europa League before it really got going by NK Domzale. The club’s transfer record was broken in the January of that season as Andre Ayew arrived from Swansea City but only three of the players who were signed that season remain at the club. Manuel Lanzini made his loan move from Al Jaxira permanent, while Robert Snodgrass and Arthur Masuaku make up the trio who are still in east London from that season of spending.
Bilic brought in some interesting players across that season but he seemed to lose confidence of the board with his transfer dealings that summer. Here, we list down those who arrived in the summer
The decorated right back arrived at West Ham on a free transfer having been released by Real Madrid. Three appearances down the road and Arbeloa announced his retirement, admitting that his stint in the capital forced him to consider his future in the game. Arbeloa’s main contribution to the Hammers was between two things – getting annihilated by Alexis Sanchez during Arsenal’s 5-1 rout at London Stadium, or tweeting “better late than never” when Slaven Bilic was sacked by the club a year later.
The striker arrived from that incredibly mysterious Uruguayan side Deportivo Maldonado and didn’t make his full debut for the Hammers until April the following year. He scored one goal but will mainly be remembered for having just Shay Given to beat when West Ham played Stoke but instead of rolling the ball home, decided to try a rabona and missed the ball.
Yet another striker who arrived that summer, Fletcher was picked up from Manchester United on a free transfer having been released. Fletcher made 16 appearances for West Ham, scoring just one goal, before he was sold at a big profit to Middlesbrough the following summer with the Hammers struggling not to turn down a £6.5million offer for a striker who scored just once.
The Norwegian player was a harsh victim of Bilic not really knowing what to do with him as Nordtveit played at right back, centre back, defensive midfield and central midfield during his single season with West Ham. He had signed a five-year contract in 2016 but lasted just one of them before he was sold to Hoffenheim in Germany. His biggest contribution? Coming off the bench to replace Dimitri Payet at White Hart Lane with West Ham holding on for a point against Spurs, only to give away a 91st-minute penalty and the team losing 2-1.
The Algerian winger spent just one season at West Ham, scoring four goals in 27 appearances. Some quarters labelled him a big flop while others were disappointed he left the club for Galatasary. Feghouli claimed personal and fitness issues blighted his season in London and he has gone on to secure two league titles in Turkey since leaving the Hammers.
The Swiss midfielder was signed from FC Sion and was bigged up as a star of the future but it never quite got going for him in east London as he struggled with consistency. On his day, Fernandes was a real asset and showed versatility as he was able to play in midfield and also at right back. However, if he had an off day then it really showed. A decent stint away on loan at Fiorentina followed before he was eventually sold to Mainz last summer with the Hammers recouping what they spent on him. After 42 appearances for the Hammers, it was a case of what might have been.
A player who very much divides opinion, Masuaku is the only player who signed that summer that remains at the club – Manuel Lanzini was already on loan in east London before making his move permanent. The DR Congo international never cut it as a left back but did as a left wing back during David Moyes first spell in charge and has since penned a new, long-term contract. However, his defensive deficiencies still riddle his game. Going forward, Masuaku can be dynamic but he’s fast becoming a liability towards his own goal. He tops the list as he’s still at the club but it is testament to the signings of that summer from Bilic that a player who is struggling for game time currently heads the list.
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