The modern game is littered with full-backs who began their careers in more advanced roles before establishing themselves in defence, and West Ham United’s Arthur Masuaku is a player who appears to match that particular description.
Players who lack defensive nous and some of the fundamental qualities to protect their own goal seem to have no problem finding a place within a Premier League back-four.
Indeed, having a lung-bursting engine and a desire to influence the game in the final-third are often viewed as the most desirable characteristics in modern day full-backs.
Much to the frustration of the Hammers faithful, Masuaku is a player with significantly more to offer in the final-third than in the defensive third, to the extent in which fans are left questioning if he’d be far better off on the wing.
But that is not the role West Ham had in mind for him when they brought him to the club in 2016, and David Gold’s tweet welcoming to the club serves to illuminate exactly what they were expecting of him.
Indeed, Gold sparked widespread enthusiasm when we welcomed ‘talented defender’ Masuaku to the club on Twitter after completing a shrewd £6 million deal.
Here’s how the fans reacted to his arrival…
One of our top 3 players this season good buy gonna be world class
— Daniel pattinson (@Danielpattinso6) January 7, 2018
Thats massive for us lot.
— Francis campbell (@FrancisWestHam) August 8, 2016
looks like a good attacking defender. Well done
— Ian Culley Morgan (@iculleymorgan43) August 8, 2016
great signing though, and new stadium is amazing
— Neil Levett (@Neillevett) August 8, 2016
great signing finally some competition for cresswell
— Sam (@samwhufc13) August 8, 2016
great news dg…going to bed now. Not getting up till bacca signs.
— (@Hammers1010Alex) August 8, 2016
Best signing! #COYI
— Muhammad Ali Effendy (@alieffendy) August 8, 2016
The reaction to Masuaku’s arrival suggests the supporters were harbouring high hopes for a glowing future in east London, but his career in English football has been rather tempestuous.
Masuaku has a habit of switching from a twinkle-toed world beater to a defensive liability within the space of just a few days, leaving disgruntled supporters fuelled with frustration.
Manuel Pellegrini has largely stuck by the Congolese man throughout the season, preferring him to Aaron Cresswell at left-back, and perhaps the Chilean’s continued faith will eventually translate into well-rounded performances.
At just £6 million there is no question that the signing of Masuaku represented a fine piece of business, even with his frailties in mind, and if he is able to iron out his criminal lapses in concentration he might just convince his sceptics that he is an able defender after all.
West Ham fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience