Bought in the January 2017 trasnfer window to lessen the blow of Dimitri Payet up and leaving West Ham, Robert Snodgrass had a brutal second half with West Ham. The team sputtered without their star player and Snodgrass being played out of position didn’t help. From unfair criticism on his play, to being slagged off by West Ham’s board members, Snodgrass has had a tumultuous time at West Ham.
Following a truly superb season on loan at Aston Villa for Snodgrass, Manuel Pellegrini has apparently been very impressed with the Scotsman’s work ethic and performances in the Hammers’ preseason so far. So, should West Ham keep the attacking midfielder?
As it stands now, not only is Snodgrass a solid locker room figure for his teammates, he has also found his form again from his Hull days. These are both two massive points that should turn Pellegrini into a Snodgrass supporter. As well, the formation Pellegrini plays seems to fit Snodgrass’ abilities and play style perfectly, built on attacking midfielders who have creative license on the pitch.
This organizational fit that is on the horizon under Pellegrini is a stark contrast from Bilic’s days at the helm when he bought Snodgrass and forced him to play left wing. Snodgrass, a noted right sided or central attacker willingly tentatively agreed to play on the left but was certainly not a one-for-one replacement for Payet.
No, Pellegrini won’t force his players to play out of position, but rather will tailor the formation to better suit them – for Snodgrass this means roaming attacking midfield positions that allow for creativity from the centre of the pitch. It is well documented that Pellegrini likes formations with two strikers and 2-3 attacking midfielders in support behind them. Snodgrass has shown so far in preseason that he can play this AM role and back up the strikers.
Outside of a brief and ongoing preseason Snodgrass proved at Villa last season that he still has the ability to perform. In Birmingham Mail‘s Aston Villa season player rankings Snodgrass got an 8/10 for his massive contribution in Villa’s promotion playoff final loss season. Dubbed the assist king, Snodgrass registered 14 assists, good enough for tied-first ranking in the Championship. He also added 8 goals, proving he still has that offensive touch Bilic and West Ham believed he did when they bought him.
At worst Snodgrass pushes the squads pace in training and provides depth for Pellegrini’s attacking midfield focused formations. He is controllable, and offers probably more value as a squad player than he would return dollar-wise in a transfer out. I say keep him, give the Scotsman a chance to prove himself at the highest level of English football again.
…oh and my feelings on Snodgrass have NOTHING to do with the fact that I bought his jersey when he signed with West Ham. I swear.