West Ham’s rapid start
The surprise package of the season in the Premier League as we head into the latest international break has undoubtedly been David Moyes’ West Ham United.
Victory over Liverpool (Jurgen Klopp’s first defeat in 25 games) saw them move to within three points of early leaders Chelsea at the weekend, and level on points with current champions Manchester City.
Only one word for it…
— West Ham United (@WestHam) November 7, 2021
In other competitions, too, the Irons are excelling. They have beaten both Manchester United and Manchester City in consecutive Carabao Cup rounds, and now find themselves drawn against Tottenham, whom they have already beaten once this season.
The Hammers also sit atop their Europa League group after four games, having won three and drawn one, meaning that they have qualified for the knockout rounds of the competition for the first time in their history (since the tournament has been rebranded).
However, the games will soon begin to come thick and fast for the Hammers, with the potential of a further 7 Europa League outings (assuming that they win their group), up to 4 more Carabao Cup games, as well as the remainder of the league season and any FA cup ties that lie in store.
With a relatively threadbare squad in places, already overly reliant on one or two players, 101 picked out three players that West Ham should take a look at this January.
While West Ham’s win over Liverpool was brilliant, it was somewhat marred by a Cruciate Ligament injury to centre-back Angelo Ogbonna. The Italian had appeared in all 11 of the Hammers’ Premier League games so far this season, forming a formidable partnership with summer signing Kurt Zouma.
We can confirm that Angelo Ogbonna sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during Sunday’s match against Liverpool.
We’re all with you on your road to recovery, @OgbonnaOfficial ⚒
— West Ham United (@WestHam) November 9, 2021
However, he will seemingly be out for a long time, leaving only Craig Dawson and Issa Diop as recognised alternatives. This may force Moyes and the Hammers into the market in January.
One option could be to raid the very club that they just beat. While Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip may be out of their reach (for now!), Nat Phillips would not be.
Bear with me.
No, he would not be a glamorous addition, or even necessarily start every game. But he would provide Premier League experience, in the form of a player who is dominant in the air, and could rotate with the previous two mentioned, all for a minimal fee.
Yet to make a start under Jurgen Klopp this season, Phillips is behind van Dijk, Matip, Joe Gomez and new signing Ibrahima Konate in the pecking order, suggesting he may not be in line for regular game-time any time soon, either.
Could a loan move suit both sides?
The most pressing need even before injuries play their part at West Ham is to find a suitable backup for Michail Antonio. Although they are unlikely to find anyone quite as capable as the Jamaican forward, the Londoners could certainly provide him with some much-needed rest in the back end of the season, should they find a good foil in January.
Michail Antonio in the Premier League this season:
⏰ 895 minutes
⚽ 6 goals
🅰️ 3 assists
Directly involved in a goal every 99 minutes on average. ⚒ pic.twitter.com/YhqkjMX2hz
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 10, 2021
And, in a month that looks set to be hectic with several clubs requiring major business, but also one that is notoriously difficult to do business in, West Ham may have just been given a get out of jail free card.
This comes with the news that Daniel Kretinsky has bought a 27% stake in the London club, with a view to a full takeover.
Kretinsky is already the owner of Czech club Sparta Prague, and while West Ham have so far opted to do business with Slavia Prague, bringing in Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, attentions could soon turn across the Czech capital.
One man who fits the bill is Adam Hlozek, a 19-year-old Czech forward who has provided 11 goals from 13 appearances in the domestic campaign so far this term. As per notorious insider EXWHU employee, following Kretinsky’s investment, “there is a strong chance” that Hlozek could be the man whom West Ham move for come the winter window.
Watch this space.
3. Bring back Jesse Lingard
West Ham tried in vain to bring back Jesse Lingard in the summer after his tremendous loan spell in east London, but the midfielder decided to try to fight for his place at Manchester United instead.
⚒️ Jesse Lingard finished last season with 13 goals contributions in 16 league games for West Ham
😵 Jadon Sancho played a direct hand in 16 goals in 15 league games for BVB in 2021
🥴 Both moved to Manchester United over the summer and are now out of the England squad… pic.twitter.com/yGVWeZ4hX5
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 4, 2021
This has since backfired.
So far this season, he has started just once for the Red Devils, and has been used a lot as a substitute in the dying stages, which to his credit Lingard has dealt with well. However, his lack of game time has now seen the midfielder dropped from the England squad, with Gareth Southgate confirming:
“They [Lingard and Jadon Sancho] just aren’t playing a lot of football compared to the other players in their positions.”
“If you’re playing regularly for your club, you have got a much better chance of us assessing your level compared to the rest of the group”.
Just last month, Lingard outlined just how important his England career is to him, saying:
“Playing for England is massive for me”, before continuing:
“I’m so honoured to be back in the squad again after the journey I’ve been on. To bag those two goals against Andorra during the last break … honestly, I was just buzzing!
But I want more.”
For a man who will be 30 midway through the next World Cup, it is approaching last-chance saloon.
All of this means that a move away from Old Trafford has to be a likelihood come January. For Lingard, a return to West Ham would give him a ready-made platform to remind Southgate of what he can do, while West Ham would get a player desperate to make the England setup going forward.
While the Hammers spent big on Nikola Vlasic in the summer. bringing Lingard back on loan, or even permanently given the fact that he would likely come on the cheap thanks to having just 6 months left on his deal, would take some of the pressure off of the under-performing creator, and both would surely push each other for a spot in the first-team.
It seems like a win for all parties involved.
Would these additions help West Ham continue their brilliant start to the campaign?
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
West Ham betting odds, next game:
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|Silva, Bernardo||Manchester City||7|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||6|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||6|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||6|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||6|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||6|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||6|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||5|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||5|
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|Gray, Demarai||Everton FC||5|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||5|
|Pukki, Teemu||Norwich City||5|
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|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||6|
|Laporte, Aymeric||Manchester City||1||5|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||4|
|Canos, Sergi||Brentford FC||0||5|
|Ritchie, Matt||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Duffy, Shane||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||5|
|Lascelles, Jamaal||Newcastle United||0||5|
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|Ward, Joel||Crystal Palace||0||5|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||5|
|Skipp, Oliver||Tottenham Hotspur||0||5|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||5|
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|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||0||4|
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|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||6|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||5|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||5|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||4|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||4|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||4|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Redmond, Nathan||Southampton FC||4|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||4|
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