West Ham’s 10th place finish last year was an excellent performance by a side freshly promoted from the Championship under the guidance of Sam Allardyce.
With Andy Carroll now a permanent fixture and the emergence of promising youngsters such as Daniel Potts at Upton Park, the future looks promising for the Irons. However, it is perhaps the addition of Romanian veteran Razvan Rat that suggests the Hammers are ready to squeeze the top eight more than ever.
Having spent the last ten years at Shakhtar Donetsk, the Romania captain picked up a total of 16 honours, including seven league titles and a UEFA Cup winners medals, Rat signed a one-year contract for West Ham on a free.
Rat will offer a wealth of experience to the Hammers and nail down the left-back position in which recent years Joey O’Brien and George McCartney have failed to successfully lay a long term claim to.
The 2009 runner-up for the Romania Player of the Year is a tough tackling full-back and a natural organiser at the back. Already fluent in English, he should take no time at all adapting to the physicality and high tempo of the Premier League.
While Rat is reaching the twilight of his career at 32, he still possesses all the dynamism and end product that led to Shakhtar offering him another contract. He will not only provide cover behind the likes of Joe Cole and Matty Taylor, but also look to get forward and provide the goals himself with his excellent delivery.
An Allardyce signing very much in the mould of his Bolton days, expect Rat to provide the quality and experience at full-back that will not only ensure Premier League safety but a push for a top-ten finish once again.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.