Manuel Pellegrini believes West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been one of the bargains of the season.
Fabianski is next week expected to become only the fifth goalkeeper to be named the club’s player of the year, following in the footsteps of Phil Parkes, Ludek Miklosko, Shaka Hislop and Robert Green.
The Poland international was signed last summer for £7million from Swansea, a snip when the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool have spent upwards of £65million on goalkeepers.
Fabianski’s form and consistency, especially behind a shaky West Ham defence, have made him hot favourite for the Hammer of the Year award and boss Pellegrini says it would be well deserved.
“He’s been very good,” said Pellegrini. “I think that Lukasz Fabianski has not only had a good season playing some good games, he has had a regular season with the same performance in every game.
“Every player can make a mistake but him, not too many mistakes. I think the way we defend is also better for him, because we always tried to have our box as clear as we can so he has more time to react to a shot from distance.
“But it is not only about his performances during the games, but also his performances every day of the week. He deserves every award that he can receive.
“For the price that we brought him here for, of course it was a very good price.
“Would I prefer him not to be so busy next season? I certainly hope we are able to concede less goals. That is one of the reasons why we didn’t improve this season, because we conceded too many goals.”
West Ham host Southampton on Saturday in their final home game of the season, looking to do the double over Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
The Hammers won 2-1 at St Mary’s in December when Saints were struggling to avoid relegation, but Hasenhuttl has since guided them to safety with room to spare.
“We were one of his first games in charge when we first played them,” said Pellegrini.
“He was in a very difficult position, a relegation position, but he has saved them so I am sure he has done a good job.”