West Ham are taking a huge gamble on Simone Zaza
West Ham pursued more strikers than any other Premier League club this summer. The Hammers deserved to finally land one of their targets. The only trouble is, Simone Zaza is a huge risk to flop for Slaven Bilic’s club.
Frankly, I’d be very concerned if I were a West Ham fan. The club have splashed a record transfer fee of 24 million pounds to capture the Juventus striker. Ideally, for that sum of money, West Ham would have purchased a centre forward who could definitely lead their line for years to come. I’m not sure they accomplished that.
It’s not as if Zaza isn’t talented, he certainly is. The questions regarding his game are all about his inconsistent play. If you look at his career objectively, he’s never put together what you’d call an above average season. He’s had patches of good form, but they are always followed by significant dips in performance.
The best season of his career game in 2014-15 for Sassuolo. He managed to tally a solid 11 Serie A goals that year for his club. He also managed to earn the highest Whoscored.com player average of his career. The troubling fact is that rating was only a very mediocre 6.79.
He earned the move to Juventus after that year and he never managed to secure regular playing time with The Old Lady. He managed 19 appearances last season for the club, but only five starts. He wasn’t in a position to secure any additional playing time this season after the acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain.
So West Ham, after missing out on young prospects like Michy Batshuayi and more established international stars like Carlos Bacca, have settled on Zaza. It’s a purchase that absolutely oozes risk. It may ultimately be the transaction that defines Slaven Bilic’s time at the club as either a resounding success or colossal failure.
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The good news for Zaza and the West Ham faithful, is that he should get plenty of opportunities to score. Playing with Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini is a pretty good gig for any centre forward. He should be able to score enough to avoid being branded as a flop.
The flip side is that even if he reaches double-digit goals, he may not be playing well enough to live up to the substantial fee. To perform at a level commensurate with his price tag he needs to become a complete player. That’s the challenge that I don’t think Zaza will ultimately meet.
Expect Simone Zaza to score a decent number of goals for West Ham, but he still won’t live up to his transfer price tag. Count on the Italian striker to be chalked up as a significant overpay by the Hammers when all is said and done.