In February it was being reported that West Ham United were close to sealing a deal for Saint-Etienne winger Jonathan Bamba. The French under-21 international was coming to the end of his contract with Les Verts and The Sun reported that West Ham were closing in on a pre-contract arrangement for his services.
West Ham were not alone, with Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town also keen. However, it seemed the Hammers had won the race to sign the player.
However, West Ham were also going through a transitional period at the time. David Moyes’ tenure at the club was looking in doubt and the club had just axed recruitment chief Tony Henry.
Therefore, no deal went ahead and Bamba ended up remaining in France. He joined Lille in the summer on a free transfer and, based on his current form, West Ham will wish they had snapped him up.
The 22-year-old scored twice yesterday as Lille defeated his former club Saint-Etienne 3-1 and moved to second in Ligue 1. He also assisted the other goal, scored by Lille’s other super winger Nicolas Pepe.
It took Bamba’s tally for the season to seven goals in nine games and he is looking like one of the biggest threats in French football right now.
West Ham would certainly like to have him on the opposite flank to Andriy Yarmolenko this season. The fact they could have got him for free is just an extra kick in the teeth.