West Ham defender signs big new deal
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 July 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Ogbonna ready to take his place in the starting line-up once again
West Ham central defender Angelo Ogbonna has signed a new deal that will keep him at the London Stadium until the year 2022.
The likeable Italy international returned from a knee operation to surprisingly play in the final game of last season at Burnley and he looks to have a secure future at the club.
When he first arrived from Juventus in 2015, not everbody was quite sure of his talents. He was very left-footed, a little slow, prone to mistakes and his distribution was questionable.
Furthermore, he changed the dynamic of the West Ham defence as Winston Reid was forced to move from the left side of central defence to the right to allow for Ogbonna to come in and that did not always go well.
But as time went on, Ogbonna grew in stature and confidence and became a fixture of the Hammers defence.
Ogbonna scored that memorable late winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup at Upton Park the previous season and while that was a triumph going forward, it is his no-nonsense defending that has been a vital component for the Hammers.
As with other players like Pedro Obiang, you notice him most when he is not playing and that was the case with the Italian as he missed the second half of last season with a knee injury.
His injury was the major reason that Jose Fonte came into the club and it now seems that West Ham have four quality central defenders with James Collins and Reid.
It also means that manager Slaven Bilic was able to send out Reece Oxford to Borussia Monchengladbach and Reece Burke, probably to Bolton Wanderers.
“I’m really grateful for this new deal,” said the 29-year-old. “My target is that I can’t wait to get back playing.
“I think we have a long season ahead and for me my target is to be better than last season. We finished 11th, but very close to eighth and we know we can do better.”
Ogbonna is fit for the new season and will certainly play an important role. He is a player who always has a smile on his face, but he is also deep-thinking player, keen to analyse why things have gone right or wrong.
“I cannot wait for the Manchester United game on the first day,” he said. “Everyone wants to show themselves, but we have to be focused and prepare for that game by working hard in pre-season.”
It will be interesting to see what defensive formation Bilic goes for this season, but with Ogbonna earning a big new deal, it seems clear that the Italian will play a big part.