West Ham have enjoyed a fine week, dispatching Southampton after a derby day victory over rivals Tottenham. After what has been a difficult season at times, the Hammers now have a real possibility of finishing in the top ten, which would surely represent a successful season. They will, of course, look to push on during the next campaign, but will recognise the potential after a solid conclusion.
The London club made a number of high-profile signings this summer, including £42m Felipe Anderson and £17.5m Andriy Yarmolenko. However, where perhaps previously unexpected, free signing Ryan Fredericks has emerged as a promising talent.
The defender was signed on a four-year contract after his contract with Fulham expired in the summer. He was a prominent figure in the side that gained promotion to the Premier League, making 44 appearances and assisting nine goals. His excellent performances saw him placed in the Championship Team of the Season. To capture his services on a free, therefore, was a great bit of business by manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The former Fulham man has perhaps not had the role he would have desired this season, featuring in only 14 Premier League games. However, he has hit a rich vein of form, impressing against Tottenham and more recently scoring against Southampton. In fact, his goal against the latter saw him get a spot in Garth Crooks’ team of the week. The defender was solid in defence and outstanding in attack.
The 26-year-old will now hope to establish himself as a regular in the West Ham starting eleven, something that looks highly achievable given the decline of an ageing Pablo Zabaleta. The Englishman certainly has energy in abundance and is clearly a threat around the box. He may not be the one that has got the fans excited, but he cannot be written off just yet. There is a lot of potential here.
As stated, Fredericks arrived in a free transfer, while he represents one of the least costly members of the squad with reported weekly earnings (as per SpotRac) of £40,000. Baring in mind Zabaleta is reportedly on £75,000 a week, the deal must be deemed as great value for money. He certainly goes down as a profit player.
West Ham fans, what do you think? Should Fredericks be given a regular role in the first XI? Comment below…
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