To many Premier League fans, the name Romain Hamouma won’t mean a lot, but in all likelihood, they will get to know him next Thursday when Manchester United face Saint-Étienne in the Europa League.
The French winger, who has spent the entirety of his career in France, has been with Les Verts since 2012 following a £3.4m transfer from SM Caen, and the game at Old Trafford will be his first time in England, at the age of 29.
However, speaking to France Football, the right-winger revealed he had the opportunity of transferring to the Premier League, heavily hinting at interest from West Ham and Bournemouth, but decided to remain with his current side.
He said: “I could have, but if I moved abroad, it wouldn’t be to join a sinking ship, even in England, even with a nice paycheque. I might have left had a team like West Ham, in mid table, had made a proper offer.
“I know what I have at Saint-Etienne. We play for Europe and the top half of the table every year. Fighting against relegation, at Bournemouth, for example, doesn’t interest me one bit. The sporting project still means something to me. A move must give you something.”
Considering Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are currently only four points behind Slaven Bilic’s West Ham, Hamouma’s analysis of things might seem a bit harsh, but he has a point.
Saint-Etienne have finished in France’s top six in each of the last four seasons, and are on course to do so again this time around, something neither West Ham nor Bournemouth can claim at this moment in time.
And, on top of all that, he still gets to play against Manchester United. There’s worse places to be.