Identity crisis – is Collins really Fonte?

Fonte seen signing what could become ery expensive deal.

Fonte seen signing what could become ery expensive deal.

ClaretandHugh’s big buddy Gonzo from Hammers Chat casts his eyes over what he reckons could become some very expensive long terms deals! 

Something occurred to me as I watched James Collins heroically defend his penalty area against Swansea last Saturday. I can’t remember which clearance it was in particular but it was quite evident that we had a proven and capable Premier League defender who might not be quick but was certainly very good at his job . . . . . . . . . . .

Exactly what we thought we were getting with Jose Fonte in fact.

Of course it comes as no surprise to any Hammers fan who has seen ‘The Ginger Pele’ play at any point during his career that he would put in a Herculean effort to help us gain some vital points. It was not the fact that Collins was performing well that troubled me though, it was his defending in comparison to Fonte that caused concern. It left me wondering, ‘will Fonte be in our team next season?’ and if not was it wise to purchase him on a long term deal at a reported £65k p/w?

Now we all know Fonte was purchased because of the injury to Ogbonna and with the enforced absence of  Winston Reid following shortly afterwards it was wise to recruit some defensive cover. However did it really have to be in the form of a whopping £20m + bundle for someone who is arguably not as good as our current stand-ins (Kouyate & Collins)? Surely a loan deal with an option similar to Mamadou Sakho’s move to Crystal Palace might have been more prudent.

When we consider that our centre back options at the start of next season may well be Reid, Ogbonna, Collins, Kouyate, Oxford and Burke it’s starts to become very difficult to foresee a starting role for Fonte. It just seems to me as if we have obligated ourselves to a long-term commitment in order to solve a very short-term problem.

I’d also add Robert Snodgrass into the same category , surely if he is starting games next season then something has gone badly wrong with the building project. He worked hard on Saturday but endeavour is probably the easiest commodity to acquire in the Premier League and I believe the former Hull player was purchased for his dead-ball ability.

In my opinion it was a panic buy following the departure of assist extraordinaire Dimitri Payet which saw us quickly peruse the league and pluck a bloke out of the hat who had a few key passes to his name. Unfortunately for us and Snodgrass himself he has not been able to replicate his Hull form and we have found ourselves looking to Lanzini and Antonio to provide our creativity.

Our summer transfer window saw us add a bit of squad depth but fail to improve last seasons first team which became a massive issue the moment we performed our Groundhog Day trick against FC Astra in the Europa Cup. The last thing we needed in the winter transfer window was to add further padding of a lesser quality than that already in the squad but that’s what we did unfortunately.

I would hope to be proved wrong but I can’t help feeling that we will end up paying a heavy financial cost whilst failing to fix a short term problem.


About Gonzo

Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose

5 comments on “Identity crisis – is Collins really Fonte?

  1. You talk a lot of sense fella. Excellent article.

  2. Absolutely right.
    I cannot understand why we have invested in Fergouli, Ayew, Snodgrass and Antonio all of whom prefer a right wing berth. Snodgrass was best for Hull cutting inside from the right wing. He has not got the pace to beat the full back and whip in a cross – so I can’t understand why we went for him.
    With Fergouli, Norvelt, and Fletcher there was no real investment beyond wages – indeed they can probably be sold if needs be. Zaza and Tore have gone – albeit at a cost of £5m each (?) in loan fees. Arberola and Callieri will presumably follow. But we are left with Snodgrass and Fonte (and for that matter Ayew) on large wages and I cannot see them getting in the first team.

  3. Yeah nice one Gonzo. That’s all well and good but we have rarely had 4 CB’s to choose from have we? So we will need Reid Collins Fonte and Ogbonna in any case. Not sure in what order tho we haven’t had much choice most of the season. As far as Oxford and Burke are concerned do you really they’ll be ready next year? I’m not sure. One thing I am sure about is we have got to start forgetting Kouyate can play anywhere else other than midfield. If we need a 5th CB go buy one, don’t consider Kouyate.

  4. Got it in one, Gonzo. What a lot of wasted money !

  5. Snoddy was in the right place at the right time and made the assist for the only goal in the game against Swansea. Only time will tell how much those two extra points will prove to be worth. If they keep us up – he was a bargain.

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