It is always a major risk bringing in key signings from abroad. They are new to the Premier League and it depends on the player how long they take to adapt to English football.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini believes both Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller will need to be given time to make their mark in this country:
“We need to integrate Fornals, we need to integrate Haller and Ajeti so that we have different options and that will be positive. But maybe we need more games to see the best way to play.”
Still, whether Pellegrini himself will be given the patience to see these players flourish in the claret and blue, it remains to be seen. A 5-0 hammering at the start of the campaign was going to place question marks in the minds of some fans.
An improved display versus Brighton last Saturday would have eased some fears, but the slow start to the season, no doubt exacerbated by the time required for new players to be integrated, is a cause for concern.
Most supporters were happy with the business that was done in the summer, but the lack of defensive reinforcements was always questionable, to say the least. Defensive issues have continued into the new season with no indication that they will be rectified soon.
That is why Pellegrini’s call for patience may begin to ring hollow very quickly. Changes have been made to the squad, but if performances don’t begin to pick up relatively quickly, you have to assess whether the purchases made have actually improved things.
The Chilean’s future is, therefore, likely to be linked to how quickly Haller and Fornals settle. The Frenchman, in particular, has been unlucky. He was always going to be on a hiding to nothing with his first game against City.
The striker was not likely to get much of the ball, and after picking up a knock in the match, he was sidelined for the draw against the Seagulls. Getting an injury so early on in your time at a new club is hardly ideal.
Fornals, meanwhile, has already expressed how difficult it is getting up to speed with the style of play in England. The first thing he has noticed is the sheer depth in quality in terms of the clubs in the Premier League:
“It was very hard for me. I need to play more games to really understand the new game and my new team more. Many people talked about the characteristics of the Premier League, but you need to live these things to understand this league. It’s so hard, very difficult, and whatever team you play against in this league is very competitive.”
He will need to accept that fact as soon as possible. At 23, he has got room to develop and has time on his side. Even so, he was a key summer signing at £24m, and a return on the investment will be expected.
The pair’s ability to make a quick adaptation may will define West Ham’s season as well as Pellegrini’s long-term future at the club.