What will new signing Arthur Masuaku bring to West Ham?
With Aaron Cresswell sidelined for roughly four months due to a knee injury, finding an alternative to fill in at left-back has been a priority for West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic as he finalises his preparations for the beginning of West Ham’s Premier League campaign and an assault on the Europa League.
Bilic finally got his man on Monday, signing Olympiakos left-back Arthur Masuaku on a four-year deal to ease the defensive crisis. Though coming from the relatively unknown Greek league, just who is the newest Hammer, and what will he bring to Slaven Bilic’s team?
Born in Lille, Masuaku has represented France at U18 and U19 level, and started his career in Ligue 1 with Valenciennes. At only 22, he has featured in over 100 games, 12 of which were in the Champions League with Athens outfit Olympiakos, where he won back-to-back Greek titles. So even as a youngster, his big game experience will be vital for a team of West Ham’s ambitions, particularly as far as Europe is concerned, though making the step-up in domestic football will be a challenge.
However, given how Olympiakos have competed against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea in the Champions League in years gone by, there is plenty of reason for encouragement that Masuaku can make the transition. At 5ft 10inches, he isn’t the tallest left-back, but he possesses a great deal of pace, athleticism and physicality, and like Cresswell he enjoys venturing forward and supporting the attack, often overlapping the winger in front of him.
A dynamic player with European experience who can offer an attacking outlet will undoubtedly be useful for the Hammers not only in Europe but in the Premier League. Masuaku will have to adapt to the more physical English game, but having played against English opposition and coping rather well, with age also on his side, he is sure to grow as a player and excel in the English game.
West Ham United is also a good fit for the player, where with consistent first-team football he will be able to not only showcase his talent but improve. He has developed rapidly, but can continue to do so at an ambitious club, where he will be exposed to Europe and to the climate of the Premier League in a side blended well with youth and experience. Of the younger players in the side, he carries a lot of pedigree, but he will not only benefit the younger players like Reece Oxford with his own experiences, but theirs in the Premier League will be of great assistance to his own development, as will the more senior players at West Ham.
All the indications are there that Arthur Masuaku can become a big player for West Ham, having already tested himself at the highest level in European club football. In the Premier League with Cresswell’s injury, he not only has a chance to establish himself in a starting role in one of the world’s best leagues, but featuring in English football will give him the platform to get himself back in the international picture for France having worn the famous blue shirt at youth level.
Time will tell just how great an impact he will have for West Ham, both domestically and in Europe, and how being at West Ham will help him raise his overall game and his profile. Expect the unknown to perhaps become known before too long.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Ra?it Özdemir.
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