West Ham United have enjoyed a successful summer transfer window, signing nine new players. However, a highly regarded journalist has warned the Hammers faithful that they shouldn't expect too much from one of those acquisitions - Colombia defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez.
In a recent tweet, Tim Vickery, BBC Sport's expert in South American football, gave a distinctly mixed assessment of Sanchez, whom the Hammers purchased on Thursday:
Carlos Sanchez might be just past his peak, and offers little on the ball. But as a defensive midfielder, West Ham have signed a specialist man marker— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) August 9, 2018
Vickery's comments will be distinctly sobering for Hammers fans, especially the remark that Sanchez 'offers little on the ball'. The West Ham faithful generally expect their side to play fluid passing football - hence their disdain for certain former managers, not least Sam Allardyce.
Nevertheless, if Sanchez is indeed 'a specialist man marker', he could bring his new side some much-needed defensive solidity, even if he is not a regular starter for Manuel Pellegrini's side. West Ham conceded 68 Premier League goals last season - the joint worst tally in the top flight, along with relegated Stoke City.
Given that the Colombian is now 32 years old, Vickery's comments about his being 'past his peak' are hardly controversial. Nevertheless, his considerable experience - which includes 88 caps for Colombia - may prove invaluable for the Hammers, who have several talented but inexperienced younger players, such as 19-year-old defender Declan Rice.
Sanchez has also proved that he can handle the physical challenges of the Premier League, having played 48 matches for Aston Villa when they were still in the top flight - although, admittedly, the Villans were relegated at the end of his spell with the Midlands club in 2016.
West Ham will kick off their league campaign against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. The Reds are regarded as plausible Premier League title contenders, so Sunday's clash could prove to be a baptism of fire for Pellegrini's new-look Hammers.