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Just who is the under-the-radar left-back heading to West Ham?

| 08.08.2016

With Aaron Cresswell’s injury forcing West Ham boss Slaven Bilic to be too creative for comfort during his side’s 4-2 aggregate victory over Domzale in Europa League qualifying, it was always a matter of time before a new left-back would be winging his way to east London.

Bilic fielded right-back Sam Byram on the left and winger Michail Antonio on the right in both matches against the Slovenians, going down 2-1 away before sweeping to 3-0 victory in West Ham’s first fixture at London Stadium, formerly the Olympic Stadium.

Cresswell will be out until November at the earliest, making a short-term replacement who won’t break the bank necessary, with Bilic clearly a fan of the 26-year-old having stared him in all bar one Premier League match last term.

Step forward Arthur Masuaku, a 22-year-old former France Under-18 international who played alongside Paul Pogba in the Les Bleus youth set-up.

Masuaku has signed from Olympiakos, where he bagged two Greek Superleague titles and a cup winners’ medal during two terms in Piraeus, starting 11 Champions League games to boot.

Half of Italy was said to be interested in the Lille-born flyer 12 months ago, with Juventus, Inter and Roma all thought keen and Genoa seeing a €4m bid rebuffed.

West Ham have picked Masuaku up for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £6m, which seems reasonable for a young player of this profile, with early reports that Olympiakos were looking for only £1m proving as wrong as they sounded.

Masuaku seems a similar type to Southampton right-back Cedric, bought as a 23-year-old for similar money last summer and now European champion after turning out four times for Portugal at Euro 2016, starting in the 1-0 final victory over hosts France.

If playing for West Ham has a similar impact on Masuaku’s international future, with Les Bleus’ evergreen left-back Patrice Evra surely on his last legs, then Cresswell may have a fight on his hands upon returning from the treatment room.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.