David Moyes is looking to get the band back together, again. The new West Ham United manager is looking to bring out of favour Everton winger Kevin Mirallas to the London Stadium in January. It’s not the first time Moyes has raided a former club to strengthen his new team and it won’t be the last.
Marouane Fellaini followed him to Manchester United and he brought a host of former players with him to the Stadium of Light. Paddy McNair, Donald Love and Adnan Januzaj all joined Sunderland from Manchester United while Steven Pienaar, Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson swapped Merseyside for the North East.
When scanning the list of names it becomes apparent that Moyes might not have an eye for talent, and that he perhaps puts his trust in the wrong players. Only Fellaini could be considered a success story. However, it could be third time lucky for Moyes and a move for Mirallas is an easy win for the 54-year-old manager.
The Belgian international has reportedly fallen out of favour with new Toffees boss David Unsworth.
The 30-year-old attacker and French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin were left out of the Everton squad for Sunday’s 3-2 win over Watford after an incident at the club’s Finch Farm complex the previous day.
The Guardian reported that the pair were accused of a lack of commitment by the first-team coach, Duncan Ferguson, at a training session and were requested to leave unless they took preparations for the following day’s match more seriously.
The pair reportedly took up Ferguson’s offer which prompted Unsworth to send them home and exclude them from the first-team squad for the following match.
Though bridges haven’t been burnt completely, the player apologised on social media and only signed a new long-term contract with the club until 2020 six months ago, a break away from Goodison Park may be best for all involved.
Everton rid themselves of a disruptive influence until a new permanent manager is appointed, Mirallas gets the opportunity to play on a regular basis and West Ham are able to bolster their attacking ranks without breaking the bank.
Marko Arnautović, a club record signing from Stoke City in the summer, has failed to live up to expectations. He was sent off in only his second league appearance for the club, a 3-2 defeat to Southampton, and hasn’t really been a regular since then.
However, it’s not completely the 28-year-old’s fault. Former West Ham boss Slaven Bilić chopped and changed the system on a regular basis. They lined up with a back three in five of their 11 Premier League matches in a shape meaning there wasn’t a place for Arnautović.
It, at times, meant Javier Hernández was forced to play on the left-hand side of the pitch. He put in an admirable shift but he’s a poacher and not a provider.
The arrival of Mirallas would give Moyes depth in an area of the pitch he needs it if he’s to get West Ham firing again.
How Mirallas can balance the West Ham team
The 30-year-old Belgian was lost in the mix a little last season at Everton. With Ronald Koeman looking to blood a number of youngsters in his new look, fresh faced Toffees team.
Mirallas, despite being involved in a goal every 208 minutes of Premier League action, wasn’t often the hot topic of conversation. His performances went under the radar even though he was posting impressive numbers.
Often starting on the left of the attack, he would cut inside to support the long striker, Romelu Lukaku, dribbling past opposition players before threading passes through to his compatriot.
For context, when looking at the stats posted by players in the Premier League this season, only 25 players complete more dribbles per 90 minutes than Mirallas did last season.
Furthermore, the sample size is small given we’re just 11 matches into the new campaign but just the 32 players average more key passes than the Belgian did last season.
No player in the West Ham team has averaged more key passes than the Everton man and only Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini complete more dribbles.
He’s got pace to burn and in the Premier League it’s this sort of player that petrifies the opposition: quick, direct and tricky. Mirallas carved out openings for Lukaku and he’d be able to do the same for both Hernández and Andy Carroll.
He’s not too dissimilar to André Ayew. The former Swansea City player has been operating on the right hand side of the pitch even though he’s naturally left footed. He cuts inside to create opportunities and could, in theory, work well in tandem with Mirallas doing it on the opposite flank.
With the Hammers underperforming many fans would have wanted a big name signing in January to really get behind and reignite their season. Mirallas might not be that, but he could bring a balance to the team which sees them get back on track. It’s a signing fans should get behind if the deal comes to fruition.