According to recent reports from The Daily Mail, West Ham could sign Victor Wanyama during the January transfer window, with bitter London rivals Tottenham prepared to sell the powerful midfielder.
Wanyama was an instant hit when he moved to White Hart Lane in summer 2016, but after a serious injury at the start of his second season, seeing him miss 26 consecutive games, the Kenyan international has struggled to reclaim his place in the starting XI and is now someway down the pecking order – behind the likes of Eric Dier, Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko.
But he’s no doubt a talented player with a proven record in the Premier League – so what would be the ramifications of a mid-season swoop? Football FanCast look at the potential consequences of West Ham signing the Tottenham man.
West Ham were linked with former Cardiff City man Gary Medel in December and while the Chilean’s versatility would usefully boost the depth of Pellegrini’s squad, it seems unlikely the east Londoners would sign both him and Wanyama during the January transfer window.
Both fill the same template of powerful defensive midfielder that can slot in at centre-back if required, but whereas Medel is 31, Wanyama is only 27 and represents the wiser long-term investment. Manuel Pellegrini would surely like to link up with his countryman, but all told Wanyama is probably the better option on paper anyway.
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West Ham have been a much more exciting team to watch since Pellegrini took the helm but the east London outfit are still conceding too many goals, with 30 let in from just 20 games in the Premier League. The fans don’t seem too fussed at the moment but sloppy defending will eventually catch up with them and it’s clearly an area where the Irons need to improve.
Wanyama would no doubt help with that objective, applying an added layer of protection in front of the defence alongside Declan Rice. The statistics here speak for themselves: during Wanyama’s final season at Southampton, they finished up with the best goals conceded record outside the Premier League’s top five, and during his first term at White Hart Lane, Spurs allowed in a division-lowest 26 goals.
If the anchorman can have that same kind of impact at the London Stadium, West Ham will fly up the table in the second half of the campaign.
Speaking of Wanyama partnering Rice, that should see West Ham’s formation change to more of a 4-2-3-1, with Pellegrini favouring 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-2 on the most-part this season. Perhaps it’s only a subtle alteration, but it could have a huge effect on the balance of this Irons team.
Coupled with the arrival of Samir Nasri, the pair of defensive midfielders will allow the four players in front of them to be far more offensive-minded, perhaps with West Ham’s latest recruit taking up the No.10 role behind the striker.
That may have been a little too risky with Rice partnering Pedro Obiang or Mark Noble, but Wanyama is an athletic and powerful destroyer who excels at snuffing out counter-attacks. Likewise, whereas Noble and Obiang have operated in more of a box-to-box capacity this season, Wanyama’s at his best when sitting deep in midfield.