The Sun report West Ham to be “signing Swansea star Andre Ayew for £16million — a year after they could have landed him for free,” but the real cause for concern is not that the Irons are splashing the cash on a player they could have brought in for nothing last summer.
After all, £16m equals little more than Andros Townsend plus a quick trawl down the back of the settee in today’s transfer market.
Instead, the east London major misstep in dropping such funds on the excellent Ghanaian forward is that they would be better spent on firming up a defence that got fairly leaky towards the end of 2015/16.
If Ayew, son of the Black Stars legend Abedi Pele, does make the move from south Wales to the English capital, he will join fellow attacking midfielders/non-line-leading forwards Dimitri Payet, Sofiane Feghouli, Gokhan Tore, Manuel Lanzini and Enner Valencia on a straining roster.
Meanwhile, the only defensive business the club have conducted so far this summer is to sell reliable centre-half/right-back James Tomkins to Crystal Palace.
The Irons were the fifth-highest scorers in the Premier League last term, but had only its joint-tenth-best defence.
It was a rearguard that became more suspect just, when Slaven Bilic needed it to stay strong most, with just one clean sheet in their last 11 games contributing to them missing out on both an FA Cup final and potentially even Champions League qualification.
West Ham are 8/1 eighth-favourites in the top-four finish betting for the 2016/17 campaign, but would arguably enhance their value at such odds by concentrating their recruitment on defence rather than bolstering their attacking-midfield ranks further.
For the same price they are supposedly acquiring Ayew, they could be signing Sunderland’s impressive January buy Lamine Kone, a rumoured target for Everton considered to be worth in the region of £14m.