West Ham’s striking failure
Haggling with Brentford over the asking price for Scott Hogan, testing Sunderland’s sense of humour with a £4m offer for Jermain Defoe, steeling themselves for bids for the mutinous Dimitri Payet, waving goodbye to Simone Zaza and preparing to point Jonathan Calleri to the exit, how West Ham United savoured the majesty of Andy Carroll’s scissor-kick strike in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace. For a team who had to wait until 27 November for a striker to score this season, Carroll’s wonderfully acrobatic goal lifted the mood at the London Stadium and provided a timely tonic after Payet’s revolt.
Yet before celebrating too much about showing Payet that they can win without him, West Ham would be wise to pause and consider a statistic that should make David Sullivan and David Gold wince. In the seven years since the pair bought the club, West Ham have completed 32 deals for new strikers for four different managers and the numbers make for grim reading. Between them those players have managed 128 goals in 643 games.
Those figures are a damning indictment of the piecemeal way West Ham have gone about trying to fill such an important position. From mysterious South American imports such as Brian Montenegro and Wellington Paulista, both of whom disappeared without a trace, to forgettable loan signings such as Marco Borriello and Marouane Chamakh, and from flops like Modibo Maïga to stopgaps like Nikica Jelavic, their underwhelming attacking purchases have too often undermined their attempts to grow.