There was a time when Sofiane Feghouli was being talked about as the next Zinedine Zidane. That likeness tuned out not to go much further than him being a French-born forward of Algerian descent but West Ham have still landed a player who has plenty of talent and huge potential to get even better. MailSport looks at the 26-year-old free-transfer who signed this week on a three-year deal.

Sofiane Feghouli poses with in the new West Ham away kit and was once dubbed the next Zinedine Zidane

Sofiane Feghouli poses with in the new West Ham away kit and was once dubbed the next Zinedine Zidane

How did he end up at Valencia?

They were stony broke in 2010 selling David Silva to Manchester City, David Villa to Barcelona and turning the lights off every time they left the room to cut down on the electricity bill. He was available on a free from Grenoble because he had run down his contract – much as he has done at Valencia – and so the Spanish club took a gamble.

Having first lit up Ligue 2 in France as a 17-year-old and been likened to France’s most successful player ever big things were expected but he started slowly and was loaned out in his first season. But he moved from number 10 to the right wing and committed his international career to Algeria and began to find his feet in Spain becoming a fans’ favourite.

He peaked for Valencia in the 2014-15 season to win best African player in La Liga and get on the African player of the year short-list. His form helped ensure they made it into the Champions League qualifying rounds. But with one year left on his deal Valencia did not make the financial commitment he was looking for. The club claimed he was demanding a 4m-euros contract that they were unable to deliver. Things began to turn sour in the final season.

Feghouli (left) peaked for Valencia in the 2014-15 season to win best African player in La Liga

Feghouli (left) peaked for Valencia in the 2014-15 season to win best African player in La Liga