The deal to bring the promising centre-back Gonçalo Cardoso to West Ham United, for a reported fee of £2.7m, is a far cry from some of the questionable transfers made earlier in David Gold and David Sullivan’s tenure.
In recent transfer windows the club has used its scouting network to identify players with high potential that represent good value for money, and the Hammers’ most recent acquisition is not an exception to this trend.
The board deserve credit for providing the funds, however, manager Manuel Pellegrini and Director of Football Mario Husillos have had a significant influence on the new-look transfer policy.
Investing in youth
Cardoso is only 18-years-old and the 2018/19 campaign was his first in senior football. The Portuguese youngster made 15 appearances in Primeira Liga before representing his country at the 2019 UEFA European U19 Championship finals in July.
By securing the services of the defender so soon after his breakthrough year, it shows that West Ham are aware of the young talents emerging around Europe and are making their move quickly to avoid competition.
Pellegrini’s latest signing will join the first-team squad which includes fellow summer arrivals Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller. Although both are more experienced, Fornals is just 23-years-old and Haller is only two years older, showing that the Hammers are opting for younger players that will improve in the future.
The move to bring in Cardoso for less than £3m seems like another example of the smart business conducted by West Ham in recent years, the small fee reflecting the good value for money that can be found outside of the top five European divisions.
West Ham showed this last summer when they picked up Fabian Balbuena from Brazilian side Corinthians for just £3.6m, a player who became an integral part of Pellegrini’s defence in the season that followed.
However, the club have also improved the quality of the squad by monitoring contract situations closely. For example, the Hammers were able to sign both Ryan Fredericks and Jack Wilshere for free last year, from Fulham and Arsenal respectively.
In addition, refusing to pay over the odds when making marquee signings, such as Fornals (£25m) and Haller (£45m), puts West Ham in a strong position.
Both players could be worth double if they prove themselves in the Premier League, as shown through Issa Diop's value increase since arriving.
Through discovering promising talents such as Cardoso and spending wisely in the transfer market, the Hammers are assembling a squad that could potentially challenge for Europa League football in the coming years.