Last week we touched on such dreadful forwards as the likes of John Carew and Benni McCarthy, but just who will make the list of Gold and Sullivan’s worst striker signings in the post-promotion era?
Modibo Maiga will go always go down in history as one of the few West Ham players to have ever been questioned by fans as to whether he was actually a professional footballer.
Sam Allardyce signed Maiga in summer 2012 for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £5 million from French side Sochaux, to the surprise of many Hammers fans. However, the former AS Bamako man was to have a fantastic start on his full debut at Upton Park, scoring in the League Cup victory over Crewe Alexandra and in the 1-4 loss to Wigan Athletic in the next round. Maiga would go on to notch only two more goals that season, which would come in the thrashing of Southampton and the historic victory over Chelsea in December 2012. Overall, the Mali international’s first season in The Premier League would turn out to be nothing short of a disaster and things just went from bad to worse from there.
Amid rumours of a return to France, the then 26-year-old decided to stick it out in East London in summer 2013, but there was to be more misery ahead for the former Le Mans man. However, Maiga’s only strike of the 2013/2014 campaign would plunge him into Hammers folklore forever as he scored the winner in the League Cup Quarter Final against bitter rivals Spurs. The winner prompted a sarcastic song that was sung by the Hammers faithful at most home games and contained the lyrics “He scored at White Hart Lane, he’ll never score again”. As his time at Upton Park began to draw to an end, Maiga was loaned out to QPR for the remainder of the season but failed to impress manager Harry Redknapp.
At the start of the 2014/2015 season, the Malian was loaned back to former club Metz where he managed nine Ligue One goals in a positive season back in France. In June 2015, Slaven Bilic was appointed as Sam Allardyce’s replacement at Upton Park, the Croat was willing to give Maiga a chance to impress in his first team. The former Stade Malien forward played an unsuccessful role in four Europa League qualifying games and all of August’s three Premier League fixtures. The former Sochaux man’s final goal in Claret and Blue would come in his final appearance in East London, the 3-4 defeat to Bournemouth in August 2015. The celebration of Maiga’s last Hammers goal would include a gesture where he tapped the badge in gratitude to the Upton Park regulars for the support he received during his time at the club.
The agile striker was snapped up by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr at the end of the summer 2015 transfer window and will be remembered as one of the worst strikers in West Ham history.
Former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh is yet another very unique player to make this list, as how often does a club sign a player that the Owner’s son apologizes for on Twitter?
The Moroccan was signed on a half-season loan deal from Arsenal by Sam Allardyce in January 2013. However, the clumsy forward would only go on to make three appearances to forget in Claret and Blue. All three of the games would occur within his first month at Upton Park, with Allardyce deciding that the forward wasn’t up to the task of featuring in his first team. Despite the fact that Jack Sullivan would be much criticised for his comments about the striker, Chamakh would not go on to prove him wrong and returned to The Emirates in summer 2013. Four years on and Marouane Chamakh remains one of the strangest loan signings in our history, but the prize of the strangest has to go to our next Gold and Sullivan signing.
Wellington Paulista was signed on a short-term loan move in the same month as his counterpart Chamakh from Brazilian outfit Cruzeiro. However, Many Hammers fans would later go onto question whether the former Santos man ever even existed.
There was an air of anticipation amongst West Ham fans after the exotic signing of Paulista, but it was to be short lived. Upon arriving in East London, the then 28-year-old commented: “I am coming here to prove to England that I am one of the best strikers in Brazil”. However, the confident forward would go onto make no Premier League appearances, only being named in the squad for games against Southampton and Reading. The signing of Paulista would go on to be known as a “ghost signing” and the former Internacional man would man would leave England having done the very opposite of his arrogant and ambitious target.