Back in the summer transfer window of 2015, West Ham secured a deal for defender Angelo Ogbonna for a reported fee of £10 million.
The centre back had been playing his football at Italian giants Juventus in the two years prior to his move to the East London outfit, thus prompting Hammers boss Slaven Bilic to pull off quite the coup in adding the 30-year-old in a bid to shore up the Hammers backline.
And several West Ham fans took to Twitter in the aftermath of Ogbonna’s arrival, with plenty raving about the club’s decision to sign the defender…
— Dizzyuk (@Dizzyuk) July 10, 2015
@whufc_official quality, very happy I got my first full season ticket, the team is shaping up nicely
— Eliot Parker (@Eliot0508) July 10, 2015
@whufc_official why the negative comments?! He has experience playing in the champions league for the italian champions.. COYI!
— SHANE BARRY (@koffshane) July 10, 2015
@whufc_official great signing of Ogbonna we are going places#COYI
— Amir Quinn (@AmirQuinn) July 10, 2015
— Rob (@RobbieH15) July 10, 2015
— Simon B (@donsimon78) July 10, 2015
— R.S. (@rsaich) July 10, 2015
@whufc_official Now we are cooking one class goal scorer and we can have a great season up the happy Hammers !
— Paul Brooks (@Brookcobear) July 10, 2015
@whufc_official great signing!
— George Williams (@GeorgeWill94) July 10, 2015
And while the 30-year-old deserves great credit for playing a part in their survival mission last time round, he has otherwise embarked on a testing time in the Premier League, with his struggles particularly apparent under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Ultimately, the East London outfit were always likely to undergo something of an overhaul in the summer of 2015 following the appointment of Bilic as Sam Allardyce’s successor, with the Croat brought in to bring the good times back to the club after what supporters deemed an uninspiring few years under Allardyce.
The likes of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio, and Alex Song all made the move to Upton Park that summer in what was to be the club’s final year at the ground, as did Italy’s Ogbonna in a bid to strengthen a Hammers backline ahead of a possible European push.
Yet the 30-year-old took a bit of time to reach his best form for West Ham with niggling injuries restricting him to 28 Premier League appearances in his first season at the club, a number that reduced again in the 2016/17 campaign following knee surgery in February 2017.
However, while missing out on selection in six of their opening nine league games last term, Ogbonna became a lynchpin in the West Ham side in starting all but one of their final 29 Premier League games of last season, helping David Moyes’ men move away from the relegation mire to the safety of 13th place.
And while he started each of the Hammers’ first two league games this time round, to perhaps suggest that he was set for a key role in Pellegrini’s team, he has since failed to start any of their succeeding ten Premier League matches to underline his lowly position in the pecking order, and thus plunge his future at the club into doubt.
And in struggling in their 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Tottenham last month, it doesn’t look like the 30-year-old is going to get regular game time anytime soon, thus demonstrating just how much of a struggle things appear to be under Pellegrini – there’s a reason the Chilean signed two centre backs in Issa Diop and Fabian Balbeuna in the summer.
So while Ogbonna did well last term in helping the Hammers stay up, his time in England has on the whole been hugely underwhelming, with the defender seemingly not good enough for new boss Pellegrini.
West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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