Although it was far from a dream start to Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure in East London last weekend, West Ham brought in nine new first-team players this summer and the mood around the London Stadium should be high.
While their 4-0 loss to last year’s Champions League finalists Liverpool may have highlighted that the former Manchester City boss still needs time to implement his trusty 4-2-3-1 formation, Pellegrini has offered a new attacking style that The Hammers can get behind.
One man who could epitomise the Chilean’s new free-flowing style of football is Ukranian international Andriy Yarmolenko.
Making the move from Borussia Dortmund last month for a fee of £17.5million, the 28-year-old has previously attracted interested from across Europe and could prove to be one of the bargains of the summer.
Here at RealSport, we have taken a look at why the Ukranian international could be the man to spearhead the Hammers’ push for European football.
Getting back on track
Breaking into Dynamo Kiev's first-team as a highly touted 18-year-old, Yarmolenko quickly began to catch the eye of scouts from across Europe.
Scoring 99 times for Kiev and picking up awards for the most assists in the Europa League in 2015, followed by the Golden Boot in the Ukrainian Premier League a year later, Yarmolenko was a man in demand.
Averaging nearly a goal a game during his nine years in his homeland, the winger was brought in by German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund back in 2017. Hoping to be a replacement for Ousmane Dembele following his move to the Nou Camp, Yarmolenko was under no allusion that he has big boots to fill.
In a season that started so brightly with Dortmund picking up five wins on the bounce and their new signing receiving plenty of plaudits for his attacking flair in the final third, an Achilles injury and managerial issues behind the scenes soon struck.
With die Schwarzgelben going on a two-month run without a win, Yarmolenko was only able to record three goals in 18 sporadic Bundesliga appearances. Many in Germany still believe Yarmolenko wasn't given a fair chance under Peter Stoger during the second half of last season.
Almost exactly a year on from being unveiled at the Westfalenstadion, the four-time Ukranian Footballer of the Year is looking to rebuild his reputation. But will life in England fare for the man once described as 'the future of Ukrainian football'?
A match made in heaven?
With Pellegrini promising to give West Ham a new attacking identity, something they have long craved for in East London, the 64-year-old's long-standing 4-2-3-1 formation plays right into Yarmolenko's hands.
While their statures may differ, he has often been compared to Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben.
Preferring to operate from wide on the right, he has built his name for his ability to cut onto his favoured left foot and strike from distance — something Tottenham fans will be more than aware of after his stunning finish in the Champions League last year.
However, the former Kiev man is no one-trick pony. Renowned for his wonderful turn of pace and willingness to commit defenders, the powerful forward should have no problem dealing with the physicality of English football.
Yarmolenko should take inspiration from last year's top scorer Marko Arnautovic. Although it was a slow start for the Austrian, the former Stoke man has turned himself into a fan favourite in East London bears a number of similarities to Yarmolenko.
With notorious big man Andy Carroll sidelined until Christmas with yet another injury, Yarmolenko could also offer West Ham a presence from set pieces.
Although the Ukranian is far from your standard target man, at 6'3" he is a towering figure who brings an undoubted aerial threat, something Pellegrini always worked tirelessly on during his time at the Etihad.
Once again a shoo-in for Ukranian Footballer of the Year award, could a move to the Premier League be the platform that finally cements Yarmolenko's position as one of the most devastating wide men in world football?
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