That player was Islam Slimani, who was impressing for Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon and would later have a solid World Cup for Algeria.
That form had allegedly prompted West Ham to consider a bid for the €8million-rated player, with Crystal Palace and Leicester City also said to be circling.
Whatever the truth, Slimani ultimately remained in Portugal, but with the numerous column inches given over to West Ham’s reported interest earlier this year, it is worth considering how he is doing this season.
Since the start of the new campaign, the 26-year-old has made 13 appearances for Sporting – eight in the Primeira Liga and five in the Champions League – and in that time he has scored eight goals and provided two assists.
His form has really taken an upward turn in recent weeks, as he netted a brace and set up the other in a 3-0 win against Setubal last weekend, having scored in his club’s last two European matches against Schalke and Maribor.
There is no doubt West Ham did well bringing in Sakho and Valencia, with the former scoring seven times and the latter three times to date. But Slimani continues to prove what all the fuss was about, with that alleged price-tag a bargain that no one took a chance on.
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