£20m Irons star is now set up to struggle this season

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West Ham United’s appointment of David Moyes (for the second time) in December 2019 might have initially been viewed as pragmatic, but the Scottish manager has eclipsed the expectations of even the most optimistic of Irons supporters.

Having taken the reins midway through the 2019/20 campaign and navigated away from danger in the Premier League, the London Stadium outfit are now awaiting a third successive season in European competition, having won the Europa Conference League with victory over Italian side Fiorentina in the final.

The bleaker days are firmly behind them, and supporters will be confident that further success can be found this season despite the £105m sale of midfield talisman Declan Rice to Arsenal in July.

West Ham summer signings

Transfer fee (via Sky Sports)

Mohammed Kudus


Edson Alvarez


James Ward-Prowse


Konstantinos Mavropanos


Sean Moore


Having impressed with their summer transfer spending, the Hammers have enjoyed a fruitful start to the 2023/24 season, drawing against Bournemouth on the opening day before clinching a trio of impressive victories – including wins over Chelsea and high-flying Brighton & Hove Albion – before falling to a maiden seasonal defeat to the hand of Manchester City, but then that is hardly shameful.

With the Europa League just around the corner, United will kick off their next continental campaign against Serbian team Bačka Topola, who travel to the London Stadium.

It’s a fine opportunity for Moyes to issue some rotation and keep his talented squad on their feet, and one player who will be hoping to make a marked impact is Said Benrahma, who is perhaps in danger of falling down the pecking order after such impressive summer additions and the superb performances of Jarrod Bowen, who dominates the right channel.

How much did West Ham pay for Said Benrahma?

Making steady progress under Moyes’ management, West Ham completed the loan signing of Benrahma in October 2020, making the move permanent for £20m in January 2021.

In that first season in east London, Benrahma only scored once in the Premier League but did provide six assists from just 14 league starts, having been previously lauded by Bees boss Thomas Frank for his “magnificent” performances.


It was a signing that left many rival suitors disgruntled, with Benrahma a hot commodity after plundering 17 goals and ten assists across the 2019/22 Championship term, and as he wedged his way into West Ham’s thriving system, it became clear that he was a valuable asset for a team challenging for honours and success bost domestically and in Europe.

Indeed, Aston Villa and French team OGC Nice were both actively pursuing the 28-year-old winger during his days at the Gtech Community Stadium, but the prospect of joining a fast-rising team in West Ham proved the decisive factor.

How many goals has Benrahma scored?

Having worked his way up the pecking order during his first term in Irons colours, Benrahma excelled across the 2021/22 campaign – even described as “unplayable” by pundit Joe Cole – as West Ham finished seventh in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, losing to eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 21-cap Algeria star, despite scoring the opening goal against La Viola in June, did not find a starting berth last term with quite the regularity he would have hoped for, playing just 22 times from the opening whistle across the league season despite bagging 12 goals across all competitions.

Make no mistake, Benrahma is not in danger of falling out of Moyes’ plans in their entirety, but he will hope to ride a wave of purple patches to convince his manager that his place belongs on the starting teamsheet.

Lucas Paqueta has played two of the opening five matches on the left side of the attack and has done so with aplomb; candidly, the Brazilian technician looks capable of thriving across any role he is deployed in, but his Algerian teammate offers a different dimension and boasts an array of qualities well-suited for supplementation, which the former Lyon man can provide in abundance from the centre.

As per FBref, the artful gem ranks among the top 11% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for total shots taken, the top 13% for progressive carries and the top 16% for progressive passes received per 90, illustrating his skill in weaving his way up the pitch with the ball glued to his feet and finding promising openings to unleash strikes on goal.

The £55k-per-week ace will need to start impressing his manager enough to cement his name as among the first to be picked, and while his teammate Pablo Fornals has also suffered from a fall into a more peripheral role of late, Benrahma arguably offers talents better served for an aspiring outfit such as West Ham.


Indeed, the dynamic Spaniard was signed from Villarreal for £24m in 2019, and while he made 17 starts in the Premier League last term, scoring three times, nine of those came across the opening nine matches of the campaign, seemingly losing his boss’s confidence as the club toiled for much of the year.

Fornals can also play down the left channel but is perhaps most at home in a creative role in the centre. Given the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Mohammed Kudus and Paqueta all warrant prominent positions, it’s unlikely that he will reclaim his spot, especially after only starting against Bournemouth so far this season.

The same could well now be said of Benrahma who was dropped for the defeat to City.

He happened to provide an assist against Brighton, but may well now struggle to play a big role this season as the Hammers search for success across multiple fronts.

Europe may give him a chance to shine but if he fails to grasp his opportunities there is a decent chance that Moyes will continue to opt for Paqueta’s starting role out on the left in the biggest moments. Kudus could even be preferred in that role too.

Benrahma will likely start in the Europa League this week, but he must use that as a launchpad to serve a starring role and propel West Ham to heights even better than that of last season’s silver-laden finale. Though, with such illustrious options now ahead of him in the pecking order, continental action could be his rare chance to shine.

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