How West Ham Might Line Up In Next Year’s Premier League Season
Posted by Matthew Jones | Published on February 15, 2017
After a disappointing window of transfer activity last summer, West Ham fans are expecting to be reimbursed with a fresh batch of high-quality signings for next season. A substantial budget is expected to be given to Slaven Bilic to reshape his squad into one that can challenge for the top six again. In an ideal world, how might the Hammers line-up after the Summer Transfer Window?
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
Despite Darren Randolph and Adrián San Miguel offering two good options in the West Ham goal, sources from inside the club have stated that Slaven Bilic may attempt a major signing in Manchester City goalkeeper and England international Joe Hart, who is currently on, loan at Torino. The Englishman has been the number one choice between the sticks at Manchester City for many years until Pep Guardiola controversially replaced him with Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Six months later and the majority of Manchester City fans would probably favour bringing Joe Hart back to the club rather than holding on to the former Barça keeper. With over 100 Premier League clean sheets, Hart holds a record-breaking four Premier League Golden Glove awards and has collected over 60 international caps. The 29-year-old would be an impressive signing for West Ham and many fans would welcome him to their club.
Left-Back: Aaron Cresswell
The former Hammer of the Year hit the ground running when he joined West Ham from Ipswich in 2014 for £2m, immediately becoming West Ham’s first choice left-back. Despite a difficult few months after returning from injury, there is no need for West Ham to spend money on a new left-back because all West Ham fans know the talent that this man has. He is versatile, quick, composed and has a fantastic left foot on him. Alongside competition from Arthur Masuaku, I am sure Cresswell will return to top form next season and consolidate his position in the West Ham first-team.
Centre-Back: Jose Fonte
West Ham’s £8m January signing Jose Fonte was brought in to replace injured centre-back Angelo Ogbonna, who was undergoing surgery which would see him miss the rest of the season. The Euro 2016 winner captained Southampton to a 6th place finish last season and made over 250 appearances for the Saints. Fonte handed in a transfer request at the start of the January window, which resulted in West Ham United snapping him up weeks later. Although Ogbonna will return to the squad next season, I believe Slaven Bilic will give Fonte the nod ahead of Ogbonna due to the former Juventus defender’s shaky season at the Olympic Stadium prior to his injury.
Centre-Back: Winston Reid (Captain)
One of West Ham’s outstanding performers in a mediocre first season at the Olympic Stadium, Winston Reid will be in contention for 2017’s Hammer of the Year. He has been the leader of West Ham’s defence and always puts in the most impressive shift of his back line. The Kiwi is not only technically gifted as a defender but he also demonstrates passion and determination in a Claret and Blue shirt. There is no chance of him being dropped based on his current form, and he has the potential to captain West Ham United in their second season at the Olympic Stadium.
Right-Back: Bacary Sagna
The 33-year old has not consistently featured in Pep Guardiola’s plans this season and is not expected to renew his contract in the summer. The former Arsenal defender enjoyed a solid Euro 2016 reaching the final of the competition, yet the Frenchman has featured predominantly on the bench for his club this season. Occupying an FA Cup, League Cup and three Team of the Season awards, Bacary Sagna would offer an experienced, Premier-League proven option on the right-hand side of West Ham United’s defence. The Manchester City defender is currently on £60,000 a week. With Sam Byram prone to injury and Álvaro Arbeloa ageing, Slaven Bilic is expected to be in the market for a first-team right-back this summer. West Ham fans will be familiar with their chairmen’s admiration of free transfers, therefore this could possible be a deal which may suit both the board and the fan base.
Centre-Defensive Midfielder: Cheikhou Kouyate
A man of strength, speed, stamina and perseverance – Cheikhou Kouyate is an animal in the centre of the park for West Ham United. The former Anderlecht midfielder has experience in the Champions League, which is the level West Ham United are aiming to reach. Similar to Aaron Cresswell, Kouyate has not had his best season to date however the talent he holds remains clear to all West Ham fans. If money was not an issue then the West Ham board may look for a new centre-midfielder, however I believe money should be splashed elsewhere as we have several defensive-midfielders who could potentially fight for the first team.
Centre-Defensive Midfielder: Pedro Obiang
Another contender for Hammer of the Year, Pedro Obiang has burst onto the scene tremendously in his second season in England. The former Sampdoria midfielder performs consistently on the pitch week in and week out whilst sprinting and tackling just as successfully as some of the league’s top defensive midfielder such as N’Golo Kante and Idrissa Gueye. The workhorse has the highest successful tackle rate (91.1%) in the league, and at the age of 24 he has his best years ahead of him. This man will become a significant player in the Premier League one day, and he has cemented his place in West Ham’s first team for next season.
Left-Midfielder: Gylfi Sigurðsson
Following Dimitri Payet’s departure to Marseille for £25m in the January window, West Ham United will be searching for a like-for-like replacement for the Frenchman this summer. At a similar age, position and cost, the Swansea midfielder would be an ideal marquee signing. Premier-League proven and highly underrated, Gylfi Sigurðsson has 10 goals and 8 assists in 31 appearances this season. Many neutrals and pundits feel that the Icelandic superstar deserves to play for a top-half team, which is where West Ham may swoop in with a mega-money bid in the summer. The former Tottenham man would cost up to £25million, the same fee which West Ham sold their previous left-midfielder for. Could this man be an ideal replacement?
Centre-Attacking Midfielder: Manuel Lanzini
West Ham United’s ‘jewel’ Manuel Lanzini had a surprisingly positive impact in East London, following a move from UAE club Al Jazira. Turning 24 years old today the Argentinian now plays a major role in West Ham’s first team, despite being tipped to be a bench player when he first joined the club. Many West Ham fans believe that Manuel Lanzini played just as impressively as Dimitri Payet last season and is underrated by neutrals. Although I believe he is incredibly underrated, it was still incredibly tough to choose between Lanzini and Snodgrass to start for the club next season and both will have a good chance of starting for West Ham next season.
Right-Midfielder: Michail Antonio
From non-league to England, Michail Antonio is an exquisite example of how a player should act. When the former Nottingham Forest winger joined West Ham United on Deadline Day of Summer 2015, the player hardly made the bench for Slaven Bilic’s side. Instead of seeking a move away, Antonio waited patiently for his chance and took it delightfully. Despite only playing half of his first season in the Premier League, the powerful winger still managed to score nine times for the Hammers. This season Michail Antonio has been the third-highest scoring midfielder in the Premier League after Eden Hazard and Sadio Mané with eight goals to his name. All three of his assists this season came in the same game, as Michail Antonio picked up all three assists in his team’s 3-0 win against Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. The England international is one of the most versatile players in the league and has been forced to play right-back, right-wing, left-winging, central-midfield and striker since joining West Ham United. Antonio has coped with his inconsistent positioning very well, performing tremendously week-in week-out for the Hammers. Michail Antonio is a key player for Slaven Bilic’s side, hence the reported interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.
Striker: Olivier Giroud
West Ham have been linked with every man and his dog in terms of striker targets over the past year, including big names such as Alexandre Lacazette, Carlos Bacca and Michy Batshuayi. However months of negotiations were wasted on these unrealistic targets, which resulted in West Ham signing a terrible striker in Simone Zaza. I have observed West Ham’s list of thirty-odd striker targets from last season, and attempted to choose one to revisit this summer which demonstrates ambition but also is realistic. I came to the conclusion that Olivier Giroud would be an ideal marquee signing for West Ham in the summer, as he is an incredibly underrated player for Arsenal. The Frenchman is hardly a starter for Arsene Wenger, and he is likely to be even further down the pecking order next season if Arsenal splash the cash on a world-class striker. 65 goals and 23 assists in 152 appearances is a decent record for a player who features predominantly on the bench for his club. If West Ham United could attract a striker like Olivier Giroud, they could turn him into a 20-goal-a-season striker in front of the East London club’s particularly strong midfield.
Let us know how you would like your team to line up next season on @FromTStands.