The 2020-2021 Premier League season has been a nice one for West Ham United so far. They have had their best start to a Premier League campaign since the 2016/17 season. But to keep up with the demands that the Premier League offers, teams need to have squad depth, and that is something that the Hammers do not have. In fact, the Hammers have the worst squad depth in the English top-flight. And that is something that needs to be addressed in January.
Key Injuries and Departures
Switching to a back-three formation suited the Hammers, with summer signing Vladimir Coufal playing as the right-wing back, and long-time Hammer Arthur Masuaku playing as the left-wing back. But manager David Moyes would have to change his plans after Arthur Masuaku had to have arthroscopic knee surgery mid-season. The injury forced Moyes to switch to a back-four, but that was not the only key injury.
Michail Antonio, the converted striker, injured his hamstring during a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa in early December. This left the Hammers depleted at a very crucial position: Striker. The only healthy listed forward was Sebastian Haller, who would soon be out the door. With the team already not having good squad depth, the board went out and sold Robert Snodgrass to West Brom, and Sebastian Haller to Ajax. With a squad that is already depleted, selling players with no replacements lined up is a dangerous game to play, especially in the Premier League.
The biggest area of need for the Hammers is at the striker position. With the transfer of Sebastian Haller to Ajax, that leaves only Michail Antonio as the only active striker on the first-team roster. And this has been a position of need for the Hammers for a while now. It has been a revolving door of strikers coming in and out of the club. But the club will hope to hit on their next signing.
Josh King is the most realistic striker signing for the Hammers. King has not played much for Bournemouth this season, as they have been trying to preserve his health and his value. The past two seasons have been difficult for King. He has been plagued by injuries. This would be a good deal for both clubs as King is out of contract in the summer. West Ham would get the backup striker they desperately need, and Bournemouth would get something for their long-time striker before losing him for free.
Boulaye Dia would be a very interesting signing for the Hammers. Dia is a goal scorer, which is something the Hammers need. He has 10 goals in all competitions this season. This could be another bargain signing for the Hammers, as Dia is out of contract in the summer of 2022. It has been reported that he has been valued at just around 10 million pounds, and would be a good value signing, and the backup striker that the Hammers need. With the first-team experience in France, as well as the Europa League, he would be a great fit up top for the Hammers. If the Hammers can get this deal over the line, it will significantly bolster their attack.
With the sale of Robert Snodgrass, the only first-team back-up midfielder is club captain Mark Noble, who lost his spot in the starting eleven after the first game of the season. If they had not sold Snodgrass, I would have said that left-back was the other priority. While West Ham have the likes of Conor Coventry, Alfie Lewis, and Nathan Holland, none have Premier League experience, let alone much first-team experience. Bringing in a first-team quality midfielder for depth is something that must happen for the Hammers before the end of January.
Lingard is a realistic signing that West Ham could make. Lingard has fallen out of favor at Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Lingard has yet to appear in the Premier League for United, and only appearing twice all season. Lingard is a talented midfielder and would give the Hammers a much-needed boost in the midfield position, at least depth-wise. Being as versatile as he is, he can fill out on the wing to give a much-needed rest to Jarrod Bowen or can slot in the middle of the park to give a rest to either Declan Rice or Tomas Soucek. Either way, he would be a very good depth signing for West Ham.
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