How 'pile of players' West Ham bought provide more misses than hits

The flop who cost £60,000 a MINUTE, a £2.7m unseen defender and the ‘worst Premier League keeper EVER’: Co-owner David Sullivan is right… West Ham’s £200m ‘pile of players’ have been woeful

  • West Ham co-owner David Sullivan said their transfer activity is ‘depressing’
  • Sullivan said they may not sign any new players before transfer window closes
  • In the last two seasons, West Ham have spent over £200m on a ‘pile of players’
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a look at every signing and if they were a hit or a miss

‘A pile of players,’ was how co-owner David Sullivan described it. West Ham have spent £200million in two years but made a mess in the transfer market.

They can’t afford the players manager David Moyes wants, admit they may end this window without any further new signings and Sullivan says he is ‘getting more depressed as each day passes’.

Supporters find themselves in a similar mood amid fan unrest in the East End. Drifting in the bottom half of the table, the Hammers have made only one purchase so far with loanee Tomas Soucek making his move permanent for £15million.  

West Ham find themselves in a mess on transfers after spending £200m in the last two years

Co-owner David Sullivan said he can not guarantee that they will make any new signings

Promising academy product Grady Diangana was sold to direct rivals West Brom for £20m – at captain Mark Noble’s displeasure. But no new incomings are imminent.

Sullivan told talkSPORT on Wednesday: ‘We’ve chased dreams the last two years and bought a pile of players who haven’t impacted the club.’

In the last two seasons, they have bought enough players to field an entire starting eleven and fill the bench on a matchday – but Sullivan has claimed the arrivals have not made their mark at the London Stadium, and in many cases he is right.

A £25m attacker from Spain with just two goals in 38 Premier League matches, a striker who cost the club £60,000 for every minute he played and never scored and plenty of benchwarmers suggest that the Hammers have not invested their money wisely and are now paying the punishment.

Here, Sportsmail take a look at every signing West Ham have made over the last two years and explain if they were a hit or a miss. 

This summer 

Tomas Soucek – £15m

The Czech defensive midfielder has been the solitary signing for West Ham so far this summer, and he is not even a fresh face for the fans to get excited about.

Soucek has been one of the more promising players in David Moyes’ reign in London, as he popped up with three important goals during Project Restart that went a long way in the Hammers fight against relegation. 

That paved the way for a permanent deal following his loan from Slavia Prague – and if he does find that form from last season then he will justify his price tag. A sensible signing.

Verdict – HIT

Midfielder Tomas Soucek has been the solitary signing for West Ham so far this summer


Sebastian Haller – £45m

The French striker is West Ham’s record signing at an eye-popping £45m after he joined from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer.

For that amount of money, Haller was eyed as the talisman to lead their climb up the Premier League table and challenge for potential European qualification places.

However, it has not worked out that way. Last season, Haller scored seven goals in 32 league matches. A respectable return for some, but not for a £45m arrival. 

With his physical, robust style of play he is heavily reliant on plenty of service, which he is not getting due to the players around him – but that is not an excuse for his shortcomings. 

Verdict – MISS 

Sebastian Haller scored seven goals in 32 matches last season, not enough for a £45m man

Pablo Fornals – £25m

When the Spain U21 international arrived from Villarreal, it looked to be a real signal of intent from the Hammers. 

West Ham had been crying out for that creative spark in midfield following the injury woes of Manuel Lanzini and Fornals fit the bill. In fact, £25m seemed like a great deal while they watched him star for Spain’s youth side that summer.

Despite this, Fornals has really struggled to get to grips with English football. While there have been sparks and little moments to show off his quality – with his five Premier League assists last season – he has been a very inconsistent figure in the Hammers side, often getting lost in games and playing out wide.

At 24, there is still plenty of time for Fornals to improve at West Ham but Moyes is not renowned for getting the best out of tricky, delicate players. He’s been better with the Marouane Fellainis of this world.

Verdict – MISS 

Pablo Fornals has struggled to get to grips with English football and has been inconsistent

Jarrod Bowen – £19m

Arriving from Hull City midway through last season on transfer deadline day, Bowen was thrown straight into the deep end at the London Stadium. 

After an impressive 16 goals and six assists in just half a season in the Championship, Bowen earned his Premier League move without doubt but was given a tough task to help turn around a struggling Hammers side.

The winger hasn’t been able to convert his second tier stats to the topflight – that was always going to be near impossible. 

But while Bowen has been popular with supporters as he is a hard worker and gives his all for the team, he yet to find a goalscoring spark with one goal in 15 league matches.

Verdict – JURY’S OUT

Jarrod Bowen was part of West Ham’s fight to stay in the Premier League after the restart

Albian Ajeti – £7.8m

This one really has not worked out well. Striker Albian Ajeti never played more than 45 minutes in a match for West Ham and never scored a goal.

The Swiss international could hardly have been a more pointless signing as he cost the club £60,000 for every minute of top-flight football he played. 

After one season of sitting on the bench or not even making the matchday squad, the Hammers cut their losses and sold him to Celtic for just under £5m.

He has started the season in Scotland with four goals and one assist from five matches. Perhaps it’s a better fit.

Verdict – MISS 

Albian Ajeti cost West Ham £60,000 for every minute of football he played and never scored

Darren Randolph – £4m

The Ireland goalkeeper has had two stints with the Hammers after initially joining back in 2015 from Birmingham. 

He was in and out of the side at the London Stadium before moving on to Middlesbrough in 2017.

But the Hammers then decided to buy Randolph back in January for around the same price they sold him for three years prior. 

Randolph has played second fiddle to Lukasz Fabianski but has featured in both of the EFL Cup ties so far this season. 

He is an accomplished goalkeeper and a strong second choice, but £4m is perhaps a little much for a player who will barely see the pitch… and was already once owned by the club.

Verdict – JURY’S OUT 

Goncalo Cardoso – £2.7m

Most people haven’t heard of Gonçalo Cardoso and that’s because he hasn’t made it to the senior team, yet. 

The promising Portuguese centre back as been plying his trade in the Under 21s after his £2.7m move from Boavista. 

Now, while you can argue he could be a great addition for the future, you have to wonder why West Ham would spend almost £3m on a player they have no intention of playing in the first team. Strange business that is hard to defend given the club’s current climate.

Verdict – MISS 

Roberto – Free

The cherry on the cake of the bad signings under Manuel Pellegrini. Roberto joined from Espanyol on a free transfer in 2019, having been a serial mover all his career.

He made more of an impact in the club’s bank account than he did on the pitch, however, as he conceded 21 goals in ten matches and was branded ‘the worst goalkeeper in Premier League history’ after his horror show against Tottenham.

Despite all of this, he still took home a cushty wage of over £20,000-per-week before heading back to Spain as he signed for Real Valladolid. West Ham are still subsidising his wages.

Verdict – MISS 

Roberto was branded the ‘worst goalkeeper in Premier League history’ last season

David Martin – Free

Another goalkeeper signing from West Ham last season that seemed a little strange at the time.

However, on a free transfer David Martin has definitely not been the worst business the Hammers have made over the past couple years.

Martin was called up for five Premier League matches last season and kept two clean sheets against Chelsea and Southampton. As one of the more moderate earners from West Ham’s ‘pile of players’, Martin has appeared to be appropriate business.

He at least saved West Ham from the horrors of Roberto’s reign in goal when Fabianski was injured.

Verdict – HIT 


Felipe Anderson – £34.2m

The Brazilian winger was the club’s marquee signing of the 2018-19 season and excited supporters upon his arrival. 

Anderson was adventurous, tricky, quick and had an eye for goal – all the attributes West Ham’s drab attack had been missing from a wide player. And while he didn’t set the world alight in his first season, he did enough to prove he could be worth the big bucks with nine goals and four assists in the Premier League.

Anderson was then struck with a bad case of second season syndrome, as he scored just once from 25 matches and he fluttered in and out of the squad for a variety of reasons.

After a respectable first season to build on, Anderson has failed to prove he was worth over £30m and is one of the main reasons the Hammers now find themselves strained for cash. They can’t seem to get rid of him, either.

Verdict – MISS 

Felipe Anderson has failed to prove he was worth over £30m after a promising first campaign

Issa Diop – £22.5m

The French defender looked to have been one of the only shrewd acts of business from the Sullivan and Gold double act in quite some time.

After arriving from Toulouse in 2018 for £22.5m, Diop went straight into the West Ham starting side and quickly established himself as their best centre back option.

His form has caught the interest of major suitors in the last couple of years – most notably when Jose Mourinho was in charge at Manchester United.

But there are now questions about Diop, 23. Videos of his defending in pre-season had West Ham fans worried… and that talk of interest from elsewhere has gone very quiet. 

Verdict – JURY’S OUT

Andriy Yarmolenko – £18m

Yarmolenko has become rather forgotten since his big-money move to the Hammers in 2018. 

He featured just nine times in his first season, and 23 times the following season – with his injuries a serious problem.

The Ukrainian star has struggled for consistency as he has not appeared consistently, but on his day looks to be a handful for any defender. 

However, a bit like Bowen, despite showcasing his ability now and then he hasn’t justified his price tag and is the club’s biggest earner on £115,000-per-week.

Verdict – MISS 

Andriy Yarmolenko isn’t first choice at West Ham and is a high earner on £115,000-per-week

Lukasz Fabianski – £7.2m

Signing goalkeeper Fabianski from relegated Swansea was a clever move by West Ham. They got a Premier League quality stopper for a lower price due to Swansea’s desperate need for cash amid the drop.

And Fabianski has proved time and again that £7m was a bargain for him, pulling out wonderful stops in game-saving moments. Of course, he has had his blunders every now and then, but he has had to face so many shots during his time as a Hammer.

He won the club’s player of the year award in 2019 and remains their first-choice keeper.

Verdict – HIT 

Lucas Perez – £4m

The Arsenal flop Lucas Perez spent one rather uneventful season with West Ham where he failed to make much of an impression.

He did manage to score three Premier League goals from 15 appearances, but never settled in at the London Stadium and after the campaign he jetted back off to LaLiga.

£4m has definitely been spent wiser. 

Verdict – MISS 

Fabian Balbuena – £3.6m

Centre back Fabian Balbuena was never bought under the assumption he would sort out all of West Ham’s issues but more as a back-up or third choice.

And he has accomplished that during his time with the Hammers, offering a solid option behind Diop and Angelo Ogbonna.  

Verdict – HIT 

West Ham fans have warmed to Fabian Balbuena after rumours linking him to an exit

Xande Silva – £1.35m

After joining from Victoria Guimaraes, winger Xande Silva has spent most of his time in London playing for the Hammers Under 23 side. 

However, he did manage to branch out into the senior side early on with one appearance in the Premier League and FA Cup.

Silva is yet to show much promise in terms of breaking into the first-team, but could prove his worth later on in his career.

Verdict – JURY’S OUT

Carlos Sanchez – Free

Sanchez will not look back at the end of his career and say that his time at West Ham was the prime of his life. 

His first season was badly hampered with a knee injury and that seems to shutter his chances of becoming a regular in the first team in his second year at the club.

The emergence of Declan Rice has seen Sanchez become an afterthought at West Ham, despite earning £50,000 per week.

Verdict – MISS 

Jack Wilshere – Free

With West Ham wanting rid of Wilshere this summer, questions need to be asked. 

Even on a free transfer it is baffling to wonder who decided buying a notoriously injury prone player on a high wage was a good idea.

In both the 2018-19 and the 2019-20 seasons, Wilshere only managed to play eight games due to injuries. Why risk it when he is on a £100,000-per-week?

Verdict – MISS 

In 2018-19 and 2019-20, Jack Wilshere only managed eight games each season

Ryan Fredericks – Free

Signing Ryan Fredericks on a free transfer was a rare bright moment from the West Ham board in the market. 

Fredericks has been a solid addition to the Hammers backline, going about his business well enough to keep the fans and Moyes satisfied.

Verdict – HIT 

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