It was briefly a case of in with the new *and* in with the old as West Ham’s assured start to the Premier League takes shape.
Just as social media was coming alive to 16-year-old Reece Oxford, another eye-catching name began to ride the hashtags. Would West Ham really take on free transfer Joey Barton, the player once labelled “vile” by co-chairman David Gold?
The answer turned out to be “no” after the club pulled out of talks following a protest from fans. Joey Barton tweeted "no hard feelings" over the failed deal.
Before the revelation of discussions this week, the only connection between West Ham and QPR was a potential deal over Charlie Austin although it is becoming clear that none of the chasing clubs want to meet the £15million price tag.
The debate about Reece Oxford’s debut (“astonishing” says Gary Lineker) and the potential arrival of Barton (a “fans’ favourite” predicted Harry Redknapp ) was set against the biggest headline-grabber.
Not only did West Ham walk away with three points from the Emirates but they did so with confidence and style. The ball was played on the ground, the defence never cracked and silky Dimitri Payet lived up to his billing as one of the bargain buys of the summer.
Talk of a pre-season fumble evaporated and the “risky” appointment of Slaven Bilic is suddenly not quite so much of a risk any more.
The Croation was 6/1 second favourite to be the first manager to depart this season but is now 10/1 with a queue of more likely contenders ahead of him.
If Arsenal are title contenders, Saturday’s visitors, Leicester City, are the unlikely team to beat. They arrive at the Boleyn Ground as Premier League’s best performers after Claudio Ranieri delivered a 4-2 debut victory against Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Oxford rubbed more salt into North London wounds this week when he revealed that Spurs turned down the chance to sign him before he joined West Ham.
He said: “I went to West Ham, which was the best option for me.”
And, it turns out, for West Ham fans.
West Ham v Leicester City, Sat, 3pm