It’s fair to say David Moyes divides opinion in East London. Some West Ham fans love him for leading them to their first European trophy in decades after winning the Europa Conference League in 2022/23, and some just don’t rate him.
Regardless, he has done a good job of steadying the ship at a time when the club looked destined for the drop, and the 2023 summer transfer window looks like it has been a massive success. Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus are two great deals, with the latter certainly starting to settle at the London Stadium.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Moyes and West Ham in the transfer window, however. Football FanCast takes a look at the Scottish manager’s ten worst West Ham signings.
Patrice Evra (Free)
Free transfer, 2018
Veteran leftback Patrice Evra was signed in the summer of 2018 to bring his invaluable experience to the club. His time at Manchester United had proven he was one of the best in his position in the world, but he was known to be a little unpredictable.
By the time he joined West Ham, he had stopped caring. He may constantly be telling people how much he “loves this game”, but it’s clear he didn’t care for the club. Evra would make just five appearances for the Hammers.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s last Man Utd XI – where are they now?
The final XI of Ferguson’s career have gone down very different routes over the past decade.
His contract expired the next summer and he left. After no satisfactory offers for his services were received, he decided to retire from football.
Loan from Inter, 2018
It may have only been a loan, but Moyes’ signing of Joao Mario was hailed by many as a real coup. He was impressive during his time at Sporting CP and had secured a move to Inter.
Unfortunately for him, opportunities in Italy dried up and it was decided he had to go out on loan. West Ham were amongst a number of clubs looking to secure his signature, and in January 2018, he put pen to paper.
He made his debut just two days later, coming on as a substitute against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup – a game West Ham would lose 2-0. After that, he never really made a mark. He did score in a 3-0 win against Southampton, but he returned to Inter the following summer after an underwhelming spell. He has since become a massive player for Benfica.
Loan from Spartak Moscow, 2021
Following the huge success of the signing of Tomas Soucek, Moyes once again fancied a look at the Czechia national squad. This time he came across central midfielder Alex Kral, who had just signed for Russian side Spartak Moscow.
He wasn’t a goalscorer; in fact, he’s only scored a single league goal throughout his entire career, but he was a runner. West Ham signed him on loan with the option to make it permanent.
Kral would go on to make six appearances for the club before the loan ended. He’s still technically contracted to Spartak Moscow but has been on loan in Germany since his West Ham move, firstly with Schalke, and now with Union Berlin.
£10m from Preston North End, 2018
West Ham have had some awful luck with strikers. In recent years they’ve had to deal with Simone Zaza, Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate, just to name a few. Jordan Hugill has to be counted among them.
The Hammers paid £10m for his services, potentially predicting that they were going to go down and would need a solid Championship striker, which Hugill was at Preston North End. It was a move that infuriated fans, just when they needed someone to lead the line.
It’s not his fault he’s on this list, though. Hugill was given just 22 minutes throughout the entire second half of the 2017/18 season to prove to the fans that he was the man to lead them – an almost impossible task.
After numerous Championship loans, he’s now found a home at Rotherham United.
£34.5m from CSKA Moscow, 2021
This transfer just goes to show that one good international tournament does not a good player make. Vlasic impressed for Croatia at Euro 2020 and had a number of teams after him. West Ham finally got him for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around £34.5m once add-ons had been factored in.
Throughout his career, he had played regular football, and although he did have the opportunity to prove himself, he was never consistently in the first team. His first goal contribution came in the form of an assist in the Europa League, and his first goal came in the Premier League in a 4-1 win against Watford.
Vlasic was then sent out on loan to Torino, a move that the Italian club would make permanent in August 2023 for an undisclosed fee. Perhaps West Ham didn’t want the world to know how much money they lost on him.
£35.5m from Sassuolo, 2022
Young Italian forward Gianluca Scamacca came to West Ham with a big reputation. He was, and still is, one of Italy’s best young forwards. Since bursting onto the scene at Sassuolo, the hype began to generate, he just wouldn’t live up to it at West Ham.
Injuries were the main reason he didn’t make it in east London, despite looking like someone who would love it there. He only scored eight goals in 27 appearances for the club, with a lot of them being as a substitute.
Both parties decided to call it quits after a single season. He’s now back in Italy with Atalanta and has gotten off to a fine start. Perhaps, like Sebastian Haller, he’ll be one that got away for West Ham.
£15m from Aston Villa, 2023
Consistently scoring goals in the Premier League is a very hard thing to do, and Danny Ings deserves a lot of credit for doing just that, but at West Ham, it’s been disappointing. The form he found at Burnley and Southampton seems to have escaped him.
West Ham bought him for an initial £12m, which rose to £15m after avoiding relegation in the 2022/23 season. Ings played his part – he scored twice against Nottingham Forest to help secure top-flight football.
Without going as far as saying that Danny Ings has been a flop, he certainly has the ability to turn it around, he’s just unlikely to be given that chance. He’s still at West Ham, but they’re reportedly looking to move him on.
£12m from Swansea City, 2022
It’s pretty heartbreaking to be putting Flynn Downes on this list. The midfielder is a massive West Ham fan, he’s living the dream he had as a young lad in playing for the club. Sadly, he hasn’t had much of a chance to represent them.
Downes made a name for himself with Swansea City in the Championship, and West Ham came knocking. A reported £12m fee was agreed, and he put pen to paper, just as any fan would.
He made 21 league appearances for the club he loves, and helped them to their first trophy in 43 years. If you’d have told him he’d do that at the start of his career, he’d have surely snapped your hands off.
He’s currently on loan at Southampton, and will no doubt be hoping he’s given another opportunity soon enough.
£17.5m from Burnley, 2022
Players need time, and Maxwel Cornet will surely get that, but his West Ham career has been underwhelming thus far. He signed in the summer of 2022 from Burnley for a fee thought to be around £17.5m, and has since failed to impress.
He’s the type of player that is always going to have moments. A piece of skill here, beating a player there – he just needs to do it more often. To be fair to Cornet, Moyes isn’t exactly known for letting his attacking players express themselves.
Cornet is perhaps best known for his controversial disallowed goal against Chelsea last season. VAR deemed Tomas Soucek’s very slight touch on Mendy to be a foul, and denied him what would have been his first and only league goal for West Ham.
£10.1m from Paris Saint-Germain, 2022
There is a bit of a running theme here; most of the players on this list just haven’t been given much of a shot. Moyes is an old-school manager, he knows his best XI and he sticks to it. It’s an important thing to do when you’re fighting at the bottom of the table more often than not. Kehrer is another player that’s happened to.
When the German centre-back made a big money move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2018, it was for a fee of around £32m. After four years at the club, West Ham signed him for £10.1m.
He was meant to be their centre-back for the future, and since he remains at the club, he still could be. He’s just fallen down the pecking order behind the likes of Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd.
Kehrer is now 27 years old, so he’s entering his prime as a defender. At some point, he’s going to want to be playing more regular football, whether that’s with West Ham or not.
The Premier League is harsh, most of Moyes’ signings at West Ham have actually proven to be very good deals – Jarrod Bowen and Jesse Lingard, for example.
Moyes knows the club inside-out, but the grass isn’t always greener.