Cloggy's end of season transfer review - Part 1

02 June 2010 08:23
Well folks, the dust has settled on this long, enduring, stressful and yet forgettable season. The amount of times I switched off the computer, just so I didn't had to look at the embarrassing final score of a West Ham game, have been more than is bearable for this Hollandese Hammer. A part of this disappointing season has been the transfer activities of the club during, which is why I felt it my duty to run the rule over the players we've brought in this season.  Which have been good? Which have been bad? And which ones are better off playing for Marco Boogers’ caravan team?  Also, I'll be giving my opinion on which kind of players we need to get in during the coming summer transfer window.  Given our relatively small budget that won't be easy, but the Clogmeister has never shied away from a challenge or a schmoke with a buncake. Name: Fabio Daprela Nationality: Swiss Position: Left back Appearances: 5 (3 as a substitute) Review: A bright spark in what has been (once again) a bitterly disappointing season for the Hammers. I rated Daprela, having seen him in action for the Swiss U-18 team, as a gifted attacking minded full-back.  I was slightly concerned how he would cope defensively in the Premier League but to my own amazement the boy has done brilliant. In the games that he played (including against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City) he certainly didn't look out of sorts and he dealt well with the likes of Johnson and Anelka.  Which begs the question: Why wasn't he a regular starter for West Ham? Why did the manager prefer Jonathan Spector when it was painfully clear that the American wasn’t (and still isn't) up to the task?  Perhaps Zola saw Daprela as being too young and naive and Spector as a more experienced defender. Whatever reasons he had for not selecting young Fabio for the left back spot, the Swiss showed how wrong the manager was for making this decision in the precious few games we saw him play. Quick, skillful and able to do his defensive duties, the Ticino born player could be the answer to West Ham's left back problems next season, provided the new manager gives him the opportunity to show himself on a regular basis.  Rating: 8/10   Name: Manuel Da Costa Nationality: Portuguese Position: Center back Appearances: 13 (3 as a substitute) Review:  Oh how I trembled with fear when West Ham signed the former PSV defender on the final day of the transfer window last august.  Having seen the 'Portugeezer' in action quite a few times myself when he was playing for the Eindhoven based club I feared he would be a disastrous signing. He came to PSV as a talented young defender and began well enough. He wasn't a starter for them, but whenever he played (in his first season) he showed good composure and reading of the game and being able to effectively shackle an opponent.  However, after Ronald Koeman left for Valencia things became worse and worse for the Nancy born center back. His successor, Huub Stevens had different ideas about who to play at the back and Da Costa was banished to the substitute bench.  In the games that he played (from there on) he looked nervous, out of sorts and clueless as to what to do with the ball. Subsequently he was sold in the summer of 2008 to Fiorentina where he failed to break through (playing just 1 game). However, despite all this, the Portuguese international has gone some way to redeem himself.  He looked quality, for instance against Villa away and when called upon, showed more maturity and steadiness than his counterpart Matthew Upson.  Coupled with scoring 2 vital goals (one of which against Everton away in the 2-2 draw) and the fact that he has a giant's leap, the defender can look back on a fine personal performance. I've been his biggest critic and for me to come out and say this just goes to show you how well he has done for us.  Hopefully Manuel can push on from here and become a first team choice center back. Because let's face it, out of all the center backs we currently have, who has done the best job this season? I thought so. Rating: 7/10   Name: Herita Ilunga Nationality: Congolese Position: Left back Appearances: 17 Review:  Last season, Ilunga was one of the major revelations of our season.  In fact, he was one of the contestants for the Player of the Season Award.  But that seems like a far away cry from the Ilunga we saw in action this season. His season has been littered with poor performances and injuries, up to the point where he withdrew from the stage altogether.  The weird thing about his injury problems is that, on closer inspection browsing through the O/S, his injuries have somehow 'changed' (tendon injury after the Wolves defeat whilst he first was out with a jaw injury). Whether this is because he actually had numerous injuries during the course of the season or because the club just wants to get rid of him remains to be seen.  Fact is however, that when he was still on loan (from Toulouse) last year, he looked different class.  I find it difficult to see him staying beyond this season as I think Gullivan will be looking to offload those players who are not necessarily needed.   That doesn't mean however that I don't rate him anymore or want him to go. I think that if he recaptures his form, Ilunga is in the top 6 of best left backs in the premier league. Currently however, he is still injured (expected to be back in July) and there is a major doubt if he will be in the claret and blue next season. Rating: 5/10