West Ham: Irons star has seen his value rise by £29m in 1 year

    While West Ham United‘s star man Declan Rice completed a £105m transfer to London rivals Arsenal this summer and David Moyes‘ outfit toiled to a 14th-placed Premier League finish last year, the London Stadium is awash with optimism at present.

    Solely going by these facts, one would assume that West Ham have suffered a compounding blow in losing their centrepiece after failing to live up to the past heights under their Scottish manager’s tutelage, having finished sixth and seventh in the English top-flight across the previous two campaigns, but that only tells a segment of the story.

    Victory in the Europa Conference League final over Serie A side Fiorentina in June secured a first major honour since 1980 – when the Irons won the FA Cup – and clinched qualification to the Europa League once again, with the triumph followed by splendid work in the transfer market, distributing the money from Rice’s sale across several exciting additions.

    West Ham summer signings

    Transfer fee (via Sky Sports)

    Mohammed Kudus


    Edson Alvarez


    James Ward-Prowse


    Konstantinos Mavropanos


    Sean Moore


    Now that Rice has departed, West Ham have lost the tag that comes with such a highly-touted star in the mix, and the early results of the 2023/24 campaign hint at great seasonal success once again, having secured ten points from 12 in the Premier League so far.

    Who is West Ham’s best player?

    The east London outfit boasts a squad steeped in shiny talent, with first-class aces across each department.

    In the defence, Kurt Zouma has proved a brilliant signing since he joined from Chelsea for £30m in 2021, praised as an “absolute wrecking machine” by journalist Andrew Gaffney.

    In midfield, Rice might have left the flock but summer signings James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez have both taken to life under Moyes’ stewardship with aplomb, crucial in the early-season success this year.

    And of course, Jarrod Bowen has been the offensive lynchpin since joining from Hull City in a £20m plus deal in 2020, a consistent goal threat and the match-winner against La Viola in June, with his skills attracting the attention of Liverpool, who are ostensibly preparing for life without Mohamed Salah.

    Perhaps, however, it is Rice’s positional peer, Lucas Paqueta, who takes the crown as the most talented, influential and important member of the Irons team.

    How much did West Ham sign Lucas Paqueta for?

    Last summer, West Ham sealed a coup in welcoming Brazil star Paqueta to the fold, signing the player from French side Lyon in a club-record £51m transfer, with South American football expert Tim Vickery heralding him as a “classy” and “elegant” midfielder.

    It was a move to add some flair and panache to the fold; West Ham were built upon an industrious foundation under Moyes but had not seen a player of such seamless technical quality since the days of Dimitri Payet, and Paqueta, by Moyes’ own admission, was the heir.

    The signs were certainly promising, with the 26-year-old plundering 11 goals and seven assists across 44 outings during his final term in France, described as “key in the Lyon system” by journalist Josh Bunting.


    The £51m move might have appeared steep to some affiliated with West Ham, especially after the previous club-record purchase of Sebastien Haller for £45m fell flat – the Ivorian scored only 14 times from 53 displays – but it is now, undoubtedly, a success, especially considering his integral role in the resounding success in Europe.

    How much is Lucas Paqueta worth now?

    While Paqueta suffered a slow start to life in the Premier League, described as a “bit of an enigma” by journalist Paul Brown after not quite settling across the first half of the 2022/23 season, he started to shine as the term entered the later phase.

    The £150k-per-week maestro posted five goals and seven assists across all competitions, but only four of those contributions came in the first half of the season, with it his sublime through ball that slid through the central channel to play Bowen through on goal to end an interminable wait for silverware.

    A proficient creator, Paqueta also boasts an underrated array of defensive weaponry, ranking among the top 1% of positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for tackles, the top 3% for clearances, the top 9% for blocks, the top 6% for aerial wins and the top 16% for interceptions per 90, as per FBref.

    Described as “unreal” by an awestruck teammate in Vladimir Coufal, the 42-cap international – with nine goals – was on the cusp of a move to imperious Premier League champions and treble winners Manchester City this summer, with Pep Guardiola’s outfit actively pursuing the dynamic gem and prepared to pay £80m for his services but for an FA betting investigation plugging the chances of a move.

    A transfer that would have already proved a 57% rise on the fee paid to bring him to London, the fact that Paqueta has already seen a £29m increase on his name is a testament to the first-class, all-encompassing nature of his craft.

    Lucas Paqueta

    If the 5 foot 10 phenom was discontented with the collapse of a move to arguably the best team in the world, he has not shown much disgruntlement in the early stage of the campaign, bagging a goal and assist apiece from the opening four Premier League games of the term.

    He has earned an impressive average Sofascore rating of 7.47, complementing his direct contributions with 1.8 shots and key passes per game, a 74% pass success rate – which is not impressive but an indication of his creativity in possession – and an incredible 4.5 tackles and 10.8 ball recoveries per match.

    While West Ham missed out on a pretty penny by not selling the player this summer, he still holds four years on his current deal and will likely command a lucrative fee if and when he does depart, and Moyes and co will hardly be complaining that such a superlative force plies their trade at the heart of the Irons system.

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