West Ham’s pursuit of Yaya Toure shows they will never learn

Ben Darvill

It has been an exceptionally underwhelming season for West Ham, so far. The London side find themselves in 12th place in the Premier League with 42 points, exactly half of the points tally of leaders Chelsea. 

With West Ham clocking 62 points last term and finishing above Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton, the 2015/16 campaign was seen as a year that could really kickstart the Hammers plans of breaking into the traditional top six.

It has been quite the opposite, though, with Slaven Bilic’s side unable to replicate much of the form they showed last season. Their early exit from the Europa League, the move to the London Stadium and the prolonged and messy exit of talisman Dimitri Payet have obviously hugely impacted upon their campaign, but there seems to be another reason as to why they are not as successful as they could be.

Their struggles are perhaps best summed up by their reported pursuit of Manchester City’s Yaya Toure. The 33-year-old has apparently been offered a new contract by City, but he is evaluating his options.

It is exactly this sort of venture that sums up West Ham’s struggles and the fact they do not learn.

While he is an ageing player though, he does have the ability to do this:

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They were moving forward as a club when they were looking at Alexandre Lacazette last summer. The Lyon striker has netted 24 goals in 28 league appearances this term, and he would have been a massive asset to the London side. His goalscoring, pace and power are a far cry from what West Ham currently boast, with Michail Antonio their top scorer with just nine goals.

While their bid of around £40million was rejected, their interest was a step in the right direction. However, their apparent interest in Toure is a step backwards.

Andy Carroll, who cost the Hammers around £15million, was a reject from Liverpool following a hugely unsuccessful spell. Dimitri Payet was a player close to his 30s when he signed, while their other signings included the likes of Andre Ayew, Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte. The aforementioned three are all good players, but they are not of the quality to transform the Hammers from a midtable team to a top of the table one.

What separates West Ham from the top six is their inability to pick up younger talented players that have years left at the top and can play at the highest level.

Yaya Toure is a man that has been playing at the top for years, but his ability to dominate a game from start to finish is waning. For West Ham, his signature, if it comes, will likely be one that is about five years too late.

Slaven Bilic, or whoever the manager of West Ham is come next season, will find the prospect of taking a midtable team that perceives themselves as more, very difficult. The Hammers do have the scope for this of course. There is a lot of money there and the new stadium will continue to allow the club to grow, they just have to be more intelligent with their signings and the business they conduct.

After all, with fans like this, they deserve to see some truly world class players on the pitch at the London Stadium:

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