Sofiane Feghouli Is A Risk For West Ham, But He's Worth It
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West Ham announced the signing of Algeria international Sofiane Feghouli today. The 26-year-old was signed on a free transfer after six years at La Liga side Valencia.
— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) June 14, 2016
On the surface, Feghouli seems like a quality signing for the Hammers. He was one of the stand-out performers for an impressive Algeria side at the World Cup in 2014, and he made a name for himself with several good performances for Valencia, especially in European competition.
However, the signing of Feghouli comes with some risk. He did not have a great season with Valencia this year, having only notched one goal and two assists in 21 La Liga appearances. Granted, Valencia struggled mightily this season with Gary Neville at the helm, making it easy to chalk up his underwhelming performances to the general decline of the team around him. But a quick foray into his record at Valencia shows that the decline may have started a while back.
After a decent 2013/14 season, in which he scored four goals and assisted 10 in 32 appearances, he followed it up the next season with six goals and eight assists in 33 appearances. These are decent numbers to be sure, but they seem to somewhat undermine his reputation as a world-beater.
Feghouli impressed often in European and international competition, but he seems to lack consistency. In the long slog that is the Premier League, that so often comes down to endurance, that lack of consistency could be his undoing.
Feghouli also left Valencia in somewhat egregious circumstances. The club suspended the winger after a win against Sevilla, supposedly because he refused to take part in a warm-down session. The suspension meant that Feghouli missed the last six games of the season before his departure from Valencia. It was a very odd way to end his six-year spell with the club, and it could possibly point to some attitude problems.
Taking all that into account, Feghouli is still an immensely talented winger. The fact that West Ham got him for free only makes it sweeter. Therein lies the key. Nabbing Feghouli on a free transfer means that he is a risk that Bilic can afford. On his day, Feghouli is a world-beater and it is a shrewd move from the Hammers. We can only hope he starts his Hammers career better than he ended his Valencia one.
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