West Ham United are still reeling at the news new signing Andriy Yarmolenko is out for the season and it has hit his former club hard too.
West Ham signed the Ukranian attacker for £17.5 million from Borussia Dortmund in the summer and big things were expected from a player long linked with some of the Premier League’s top clubs.
Yarmolenko endured a slow start due to niggling pre-season injuries.
But he had started to find his feet, most notably with two wonderful goals in a superb 3-1 win away at Everton which kickstarted West Ham’s season after four defeats from Manuel Pellegrini’s opening four games.
West Ham were showing signs of becoming a force under their new manager with their front three of Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic billed ‘the best outside the top six’.
But ‘Yarmo’ – as he is affectionately known by fans and teammates – was cruelly ruled out for the rest of the season when he ruptured his Achilles during the 1-0 defeat to Spurs last week (whufc.com).
Pellegrini and West Ham’s players like Arnautovic, skipper Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass were quick to pay tribute to the forward.
And it seems the bad news hit home in Yarmolenko’s home too.
That’s after his former club Dynamo Kiev – for whom the Ukrainian international scored 137 goals in 341 games – paid their own tribute to him before their match against Lviv.
Kiev’s players warmed up and lined up before the game wearing t-shirts emblazoned a picture of Yarmolenko, who was back home watching his old side as he recovers from surgery which was ruled him out for at least six months.
And Kiev’s media team posted a picture on Twitter with the message: “The (club’s) blessing from Yarmolah flew back in the first half. Andrey is watching Dynamo.”