Sofiane Feghouli - bargain buy of the season
In an era where player prices have skyrocketed, where shelling out a minimum of 15-20 million is the norm, a free transfer can be considered a godsend. All the more so when the player in question is only 26 years of age, has 2 Algerian Player of the Year awards and over 200 appearances for one of Spain’s top football clubs.
Algerian winger Sofiane Feghouli signed for West Ham United on a free transfer from Valencia in June and could be the bargain buy of the season.
The Paris-born attacker signed for the Hammers on a 3-year deal and made his debut away at NK Domzale in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. Feghouli, dubbed the “new Zidane” when he was just 17, may not have lived up to his special name tag, but he has been an essential cog in the Valencia and Algeria machinery.
Feghouli brings with him a wealth of experience at the highest level, having made 202 appearances for Valencia, scoring 31 times and providing 40 assists.
With the ability to play on the wings as well as through the middle, his pace and trickery would be highly welcome to a West Ham team overly reliant on Dimitri Payet. Feghouli’s ability to deliver quality crosses into the box could be put to good use if Andy Carroll can remain fit this season. With his presence, a lot of pressure is expected to be lifted off the shoulders of Dimitri Payet.
His defensive contributions would also be hugely welcome. Sofiane’s ability to break up play through interceptions coupled with his aggressive tackling nature is desperately needed in a team that leaked 51 goals last season, the highest in the top 8.
The player’s biggest strength during his time at Valencia was his strength ability to hold off opposing defenders while keeping an eye out for possible scoring opportunities could pose a nightmare for the Premier League defenders.
Feghouli has plied his trade with the best. In a league involving Ronaldo, Messi , Suarez, Bale and Neymar, it is difficult, if not impossible to get noticed, but Feghouli has raised a few eyebrows with his performances. Consistenly one of Valencia’s best players, Sofiane has attracted a lot of interest from various clubs all over the globe. West Ham were able to get his signature amidst interest from Inter Milan and Sevilla as well as several clubs from China.
Feghouli, convinced by Bilic’s tactics and the lure of English football was quoted as saying, “I am very happy to sign for the Hammers and for Slaven Bilic, the history of the club is important for me in my decision. Playing in the Premier League is very important for players in their careers and I am happy to play for the Hammers.” At just 26, Feghouli has a long career ahead of him. A successful season at West Ham could lead to even better opportunities.
The Algerian was the Hammers’ second free transfer of the summer after they successfully roped in ex-Arsenal defender Havard Nordtveit from Borussia Monchengladbach.
After a successful outing in the transfer market, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham would be looking to secure a top 4 finish in the coming season.