Sam Allardyce has confirmed Nene will be included in West Ham’s squad for Saturday’s London derby with Crystal Palace and he will provide a great option for them from the bench.
The Brazilian forward, signed as a free agent last week, could make his debut for his new club sooner than expected after Carlton Cole picked up an injury in the recent 2-2 draw with Tottenham.
He was in contention to feature anyway, but it is understood the recent injury has made up the gaffers mind and he will now definitely be involved.
“Nene would have probably featured anyway but he will definitely be involved now because we're down to the two strikers with Andy Carroll's injury and Carlton Cole's new hamstring problem,” Allardyce explained on the official club website.
Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho are expected to start up top together once again as they continue to put in fantastic performances as a duo, but Nene provides a great plan B if things aren’t going their way.
Article continues below
Cole hasn’t been very effective coming off from the bench this term, too, so it will be interesting to see if Nene can have more of an impact – his record suggests he can, with 36 goals in 79 games for Paris Saint-Germain and 20 in 43 appearances at his previous club Al-Gharafa.
The former PSG and Monaco man can also play in the number 10 role or out wide, so he brings plenty of options to West Ham if they want to mix things up which will have been a big factor as to why Allardyce wanted him at the club.
At 33, he may not have the pace he once had but he’s always been technically very good, confident with the ball and a superb free-kick taker. He can certainly contribute to the east London outfit’s push for a European qualification place and most importantly help them get back to winning ways.
Following the disappointment of conceding a last-minute equaliser against Spurs on Sunday everyone at the club will be feeling down and disheartened after putting in such a brilliant performance and not achieving the desired result.
However, Nene’s inclusion against Palace could provide the team and fans with a timely boost and should he come on everyone at the Boleyn Ground will be willing him to get on the scoresheet.