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Signing Jordan Pickford is a massive step in the right direction

Is it West Ham’s biggest need? Nope, but it could be their most crucial signing.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Goalkeeper isn’t West Ham United’s most pressing need going into the summer transfer window, so why is everyone clamoring over the 23 year old English stopper?

Sunderland is not known for their defense, in fact, only four teams have given up more goals this year. Yet, Pickford managed to somehow outshine some of the most veteran keepers in the league. Whether that is due in part to the amount of saves he was forced to make, or just the sheer class that oozed from some of his more savvy stops... One thing is certain - this kid can play.

A lot has been made this season in regards to David Sullivan’s transfer policies from last summer. Many of his buys turned out to be flops and largely ineffective on the pitch, when they were healthy enough to partake. There is also this notion that West Ham have been lax in their transfer duty, opting for veteran safety instead of investing in the youth and future. Acquiring Jordan Pickford would go a long way to dispelling both of those ideologies.

Taking a look at some of this year’s numbers from a goalkeeping standpoint, it is no surprise to see Pickford was busy between the sticks. Of course, that is not a shock given the lack of defensive effort that took place in front of the young Sunderland man. What is a bit surprising is the number of saves per goal. Your defense could be putting you out to pasture but if you’re stopping your fair share, that stat will show. Pickford will finish 2nd behind Hugo Lloris in that category, one of the best in the Premier League.

Everton remain the clear favorites to lock up Jordan come the summer, however, the odds makers have West Ham trailing closely behind. West Ham are rumored to have made a £17m inquiry, with Sunderland looking closer to £25m. If history is any indication of how this will go, Sullivan will stand firm on £19m and lose to a £20m bid made by Chelsea. To be fair, both David Gold and David Sullivan have made admissions on the squad needing improvement and have not been shy on spending their money to do so.

So while West Ham United absolutely need a forward who can remain healthy and some help in the full back department (who doesn’t?), signing Jordan Pickford sends a message.

A message letting everyone know that besting Tottenham wasn’t a fluke, that the atmosphere (re)generated at Olympic Stadium is here to stay, and the flame that was beginning to spark in East London is about to erupt into an inferno.