Move to a world class stadium – Check!
Appoint the correct manager to take the team to the next level – (finally) Check!
Upgrade the squad to show top table ambition – …loading
West Ham United have finally made the next level managerial signing promised with the move to the London Stadium with Manuel Pellegrini signing on May 22nd, 2018.
Pellegrini has spent his last two years in China managing the team Hebei China Fortune, cashing in on a quite lucrative offer. But, it seems desire to compete in a top class league has drawn him back to his former love as he now takes the reigns at West Ham in his Premier League return.
His passed is well documented, most notably managing Manchester City and Real Madrid. However, what he did at Villareal and Malaga should be of note for West Ham supporters. We believe he should get a sizable war chest to create his team this year, however he has proven that whatever he puts in the water at team training can help get the most out of what he has.
In both Villareal and Malaga Pellegrini was given a shoestring budget to work with. He took Villareal to Champions League multiple times, finishing 3rd, 7th, 2nd, and 5th in La Liga. His success here provided him the opportunity to manage Real Madrid.
Malaga, post Madrid, was nothing short of astonishing for Pellegrini. First full season – broke the club record for points and qualified for Champions League. He would have Malaga qualify and go 3-3-0 in Champions League play later in his Malaga career as well. He found and utilized great players to the best of their ability, ability that was seemingly raised under his tutelage.
So for West Ham fans what should we expect this off season? First and foremost is Pellegrini will assemble his backroom staff. It appears as if his career right hand man Ruben Cousillas will follow him to West Ham. Cousillas was an assistant with Pellegrini in Hebei, Manchester City, Malaga, Real Madrid, and Villareal. Enzo Maresca is rumored to be leaving Sevilla FC as well to join the new West Ham managers squad.
Once the Pellegrini avengers are set it is time to clear up in house contracts and three come to mind: Rice, Lanzini, and Collins. Rice and Lanzini will both get large pay bumps, and the addition on a fellow Argentine in Pellegrini should entice Lanzini to willingly accept. Rice’s talent that he showed off this season is far from a secret and after stating that he has watched all of West Ham’s games this season there is no doubt Rice will be rewarded by his new manager.
Collins is tricky. He has been informed by the club that he, in all likelihood, will not be offered a new contract. With only one or two years left in his playing days it could be an easy sell to get the fans behind their new manager for Pellegrini to come in and sign up Collins again, however his transfer policy makes this seem unlikely.
Transfers – in which Pellegrini is said to have control are relying around the buying of “4 to 5 players” who are young and have pace. This was in reaction to links of former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure to West Ham. Toure, like Collins is beloved by fans but Pellegrini seems to be intent on making West Ham his own creation, and won’t be swayed by emotion or passed kinship with players.
So there we have it. West Ham have gotten a next level manager… just two years after they said they would. Only time will tell if he was the right man for the appointment but I am absolutely buzzing for Pellegrini to get his hands on this team – he is a natural winner and needs to imprint that on his new team!