West Ham United are interested in signing Borja Iglesias and have made inquiries into the Real Betis striker’s availability, which could make him the Hammers’ 10th Spaniard to date.
The Irons have a rich history for foreign nationals plying their trade in claret-and-blue over the years. Spanish citizens are eighth for non-English nationals so far, with the nine to play in east London combining for 345 appearances in all competitions, while scoring 26 goals.
Pablo Fornals is the only Spaniard currently in the West Ham first-team, and also accounts for their most goals scored by a Spaniard. The 26-year-old has scored 16 times and created another 17 over his 130 games since moving to the Premier League from Villarreal in 2019.
Manuel Pellegrini raided La Liga for the playmaker in a £ 24m deal amid Fornals’ strong run at the European U21 Championship. He helped La Roja win the tournament with two goals and an assist, and has since scored once and created one in six senior international caps.
West Ham interested in adding Borja Iglesias of Real Betis to list of Spaniards
West Ham may now raid La Liga this summer to weaken Pellegrini at Real Betis, with David Moyes interested in signing Iglesias. That’s according to AS, who claim the Irons are one of several English teams to inquire into the 29-year-old’s availability for a potential transfer.
Iglesias produced an important campaign for Pellegrini this term with 19 goals in 51 games across all competitions. His significance in the Estadio Benito Villamarin ranks rose greatly toward the end of the season, too. But Los Verdiblancos must make a sale before June 30.
Yet the 6 ft 1 attacker is unlikely to merit a substantial profit with most of his € 28m (£ 24m) fee already paid. Pellegrini will also need to replace Iglesias’ goals, while the striker makes it clear that he is happy at the Andalusian outfit after three seasons since leaving Espanyol.
A move to West Ham amid Moyes ‘interest in the Real Betis forward would be Iglesias’ first transfer away from Spain. He began his career in Valencia, Roda, Villarreal and Celta Vigo’s academies, before a senior stint at Real Zaragoza on loan preceding his switch to Espanyol.
So, with Moyes interested in making Iglesias the 10th Spaniard to play for West Ham, how did the previous eight Fornals followed fare in east London to inspire the Real Betis star…
Kepa Blanco endured West Ham spell Iglesias won’t want to repeat amid interest
Kepa Blanco endured a nightmare spell with West Ham that Iglesias will not want to repeat amid Moyes’ interest. The Irons loaned the striker from Espanyol with an option to buy in January 2007 amid a relegation fight, but he only managed to feature in just eight games.
Additionally, Blanco only featured for 170 minutes altogether and started just one match. Alan Curbishley fielded the former U21 international from the off against Aston Villa in a 1-0 defeat, after Blanco scored his sole Hammers goal on debut in a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
Iglesias would return to Spain at the end of his loan spell before joining Sevilla. He would later enjoy stints with Getafe, Recreativo Huelva and Guadalajara before retiring in 2013. The 38-year-old never played outside of Spain again following his troubles with West Ham.
Diego Tristan made limited impact during brief Irons career
Diego Tristan made a limited impact during his brief career at the Irons during the 2008/09 campaign. He joined the Hammers as a free agent after leaving Italian outfit Livorno a year prior. Yet the striker would only last nine months in east London before joining Cadiz.
The 15-cap Spain international made 17 appearances for West Ham under Gianfranco Zola during his sole season in claret-and-blue. He also offered three goals and laid on one assist, but only started eight games for 825 minutes – of which 732 came in the Premier League.
West Ham secured emergency loan for Manuel Almunia of Arsenal in 2011/12
West Ham secured an emergency loan deal with Arsenal for goalkeeper Manuel Almunia in October 2011 to replace Rob Green. The England goalkeeper was ruled out for six weeks with a knee cartilage injury. Meanwhile, Almunia was warming the bench in north London.
But Almunia only managed to make four appearances across a potential six Championship fixtures before returning to the Emirates Stadium. Sam Allardyce welcomed Green back to the east London fold inside a month of Almunia arriving and also keeping two clean sheets.
Adrian made English transfer with West Ham from Real Betis to inspire Iglesias
Adrian could serve as an inspiration for Iglesias amid West Ham’s interest in the Real Betis forward. The goalkeeper made the same switch as the striker, but as a free agent, in 2013, after leaving Los Verdiblancos. He would then stay playing in east London for six seasons.
The Betis product enjoyed 150 games with the Hammers across all competitions before he joined Liverpool in 2019. Never has Adrian featured more for a single club than he did with West Ham, for whom he kept 43 clean sheets and was the first-choice to November 2016.
West Ham added World Cup winner with Pellegrini move for Alvaro Arbeloa
West Ham added a World Cup winner in August 2016 when Pellegrini agreed a one-year contract with Alvaro Arbeloa. The right-back had left Real Madrid as a free agent earlier that summer, and would retire at the conclusion of his Irons deal after just four games.
Arbeloa suffered a calf injury in December 2016 and would not feature for the Hammers afterwards. He had returned to start a Premier League match with Arsenal after missing two months of action, leaving West Ham after playing 346 minutes and making two starts.
Toni Martinez failed to make West Ham grade after youth arrival
West Ham raided Valencia’s academy in 2016 to sign Spain U19 striker Toni Martinez. But the Barrio del Progreso native ultimately left the Hammers in 2019 after just three senior appearances. He also only played in the FA Cup, failed to score, but did provide one assist.
The Hammers loaned Martinez to Oxford United, Real Valladolid, Rayo Majadahonda and Lugo before his departure. He left England for Portugal with Famalicao, before sealing a move to Porto after a season. Martinez has since scored 15 goals in 64 games with Porto.
Lucas Perez proved a Pellegrini blunder with transfer from Arsenal
Lucas Perez proved to be a blunder by Pellegrini after joining West Ham from Arsenal for just £ 4m in 2018. The Spaniard would leave the London Stadium only a year later for just 25 2.25m, with Alaves coming to the Hammers’ rescue despite a near half-price discount.
West Ham happily took the financial hit to offload Perez after he managed six goals in 19 games for the club. Only three of his efforts came in 15 Premier League games, of which he also started four. Perez is now playing for Cadiz after a short spell with Elche last year.
Roberto capture proved an utter disaster for West Ham
Signing Roberto after the goalkeeper left Espanyol in 2019 proved to be an utter disaster for West Ham. The Spaniard failed to cope with the demands of the Premier League and made several howlers, which would see that his Hammers career featured just 10 games.
Tony Cascarino even noted in The Times in November 2019 while discussing Roberto: “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a worse goalkeeper in the Premier League. Game after game he’s making mistake after mistake. He’s been so poor I don’t know why he’s keeping his place. “
Iglesias, then, may not have history on his side if the Real Betis forward considers the past Spaniards who have played for West Ham amid Moyes’ interest. But as Adrian and Fornals have shown, Spaniards can be a success in east London and have important roles to play.
In other news, Report: West Ham open talks to sign La Liga star, has scored 19 goals during 21-22