Football Features

The weaknesses West Ham need to address this January transfer window

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:28, 28 January 2020

West Ham are struggling to find their form under new manager David Moyes.

The Hammers exploded into life during Moyes’ first two games in charge, smashing Bournemouth 4-0 before edging past Gillingham 2-0. Since then, however, they are four games without a win and were most recently dumped out of the FA Cup at home by West Brom. Worse still, three of their next four Premier League games are against Liverpool (twice) and Manchester City.

The Hammers are badly in need of some new blood. And David Moyes knows the kind of player he wants to bring in. “I think we need to get young, progressive players with something to prove,” he said at his unveiling. “You still might have to sign a 30-year-old player now and again, even if it might not be your policy.”

So, Moyes wants young talent, but he’ll settle for veterans if he has to. Great. But what positions are in most need of surgery this month? West Ham are currently 7/4* to get relegated, so we had a look and came up with three roles that, if filled correctly, could help them avoid that fate.

*Odds provided by William Hill, Squawka’s partner for the 2020 January transfer window. You have to be 18+ to gamble. For more information, go to BeGambleAware.org

Right-back

West Ham currently have two options at right-back, unfortunately they are the injury-prone Ryan Fredericks and the chronically ‘past-it’ Pablo Zabaleta. The Argentine is a stalwart pro and definitely someone you want to have around the squad – but he is not someone that you can reasonably ask to fulfil the tasks asked of a modern full-back. It’s one of the most important positions on the field and he’s simply not up to it on a consistent basis.

Suggested signing: Jayden Bogle

Derby County’s Jayden Bogle is a phenomenal young right-back. The 19-year-old Englishman is every inch a modern full-back, having developed last season under the tutelage of Frank Lampard and Jody Morris. Now he’s out on his own and is the kind of duel machine that could inspire West Ham and help set the tempo of their attacks. Reports indicate Derby value Bogle at around £7m, and William Hill have odds on him moving to the London Stadium at 2/1; so this seems like this potential move could actually happen and it’d be a huge boost if so.

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Central midfield

West Ham’s midfield options are a bit comedic. They have Declan Rice and Mark Noble, obviously, and those two are quality. But beyond them there’s either injury-specialist Jack Wilshere or Carlos Sanchez, a decent enough player on his day, but those days have been scarce in England. To that end, West Ham need someone to come in and provide a bit of thrust and energy in the midfield to ensure that Moyes’ side aren’t always lifeless.

Suggested signing: Sander Berge

Sander Berge is 6 ft 5 in tall. He’s a big lad. That alone makes him an intriguing prospect, but he’s actually a quality player as well. The 21-year-old Norwegian is an adept passer of the ball, and with his long strides he has explosive ability to move past opponents.

Berge also has experience in the Champions League, having played all six games for Genk this season, and has been linked to Sheffield United as well as West Ham. He has reportedly told Genk that he wants to leave before the Friday deadline, with the Blades favourites for his signature, but if he is available and on the market, then Moyes should do everything in his power to hijack the move.

In keeping with Moyes’ philosophy for signing older players if they miss out on younger targets, how about an old favourite, Marouane Fellaini, if a move for Berge fails to transpire? The Belgian is currently playing for Shandong Luneng but an impending wage cap could end his adventure in China, and who better to play under next than the man who signed him at both Everton and Manchester United? Odds on Fellaini joining West Ham are short at 4/5, so don’t be surprised if Moyes brings the 32-year-old Belgian back to Britain.

As it stands West Ham appear set to address the issue, with Tomas Soucek thought to be closing in on a move after parent club Slavia Prague gave their midfielder the green light. The Czech Republic international has incidentally been likened to Fellaini, which may explain Moyes’ apparent interest, and he would seriously beef up the West Ham midfield if signed.

Second striker

Last season for Eintracht Frankfurt, Sebastian Haller was superb. He played 41 games, scored 20 goals, made 12 assists, while also winning an utterly ridiculous 201 aerial duels in the Bundesliga alone. He dovetailed wonderfully with Luka Jovic in attack, as the Serb scored 27 times and picked up seven assists too. However, West Ham don’t have anyone like Jovic, no ‘little man’ to link up with their ‘big man’, and as a result Haller has struggled.

Suggested signing: Michy Batshuayi

Valencia v Chelsea to see Eliaquim Mangala go up against his "little brother"

Chelsea’s Belgian striker doesn’t do much but score goals, which can make him a problem when you’re playing a lone striker system. However if he were to team-up with Haller then the 26-year-old could finally find a home after years of either being on the Chelsea bench or loaned out around Europe. William Hill have West Ham as 10/1 to sign Batshuayi, but with Chelsea looking to get a new striker of their own, those odds could soon shorten, allowing West Ham to swoop in and find Haller the perfect strike partner, and thus, lead a devastating new attack in east London.

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