The Blind Hammer Column
Blind Hammer evaluates Snodgrass.
Robert Snodgrass argues he did not have a fair chance at West Ham. Despite West Ham inmvesting investing a significant transfer fee, He claims he was prevented from playing in his strongest position. He was mystified to learn he was intended as a Payet replacement.
Snodgrass found he was largely deployed on the left rather than in his preferred role on the right. This hindered his West Ham performance. However it is striking that, reflecting on his career as a whole, it seems that only at West Ham that he has failed.
His success at Hull and other clubs were built upon his proficiency on creating assists and goals from the right. This record in assists motivated his original recruitment. He replicated this success in his Championship stint at Villa.
I do not recall West Ham ever deploying Snodgrass in his preferred role. It was not surprising that he was off loaded to Villa. What was surprising was that once at Villa he suffered the bizarre derogatory comments of Brady and Sullivan. Even if Brady and Sullivan did share negative views, it surely did nothing to enhance his transfer value.
As last season’s panned out, with Antonio’s loss of form, injuries and disciplinary travails, Snodgrass may well have proved a useful option. Moyes was reportedly interested in an early return but the loan terms did not allow this.
So Pellegrini will finally have the option to run the rule over Snodgrass. What is in Snodgrass’s favour is his proven record in delivering goals and assists. He also has skills at delivering set pieces. We are also depleted in midfield creativity due to Lanzini’s career threatening injury.
Pellegrini’s assessment will be affected by 2 main, longer terms, factors which could count against the Scot. Firstly Pellegrini’s desire to recruit further midfield talent is widely known. The second is that messages are emerging that the priority now is for pace to be introduced all over a new athletic West Ham. Snodgrass does not fit this pace profile.
Yet Pellegrini will need squad depth as well as quality. An exciting first 11 will always be vulnerable to injury. Snodgrass may be the quality needed to tackle lower league opposition in early rounds of both the League and FA Cup. Snodgrass is also that rare commodity, a proven performer at Premiership Level, even if he has not shown this at West Ham yet. There is a risk with all recruitment, the risk for Snodgrass would not be that great.
Snodgrass’s eventual squad replacement is likely to emerge with the developing talents of Nathan Holland. Yet Holland has already shown vulnerability to injury. Snodgrass has vast experience and could provide a useful mentoring role for Holland. He could provide a steadier role model than the more erratic example of Antonio. If Snodgrass can help develop Holland’s game awareness he may justify his retention on these grounds alone.