Rivalries don’t come much bigger than West Ham and Tottenham. Bitter, historic and distinctly London, the Hammers and the Lilywhites don’t like each other, make no bones about it. Both are enjoying periods of relative success right now, too.
In Slaven Bilic and Mauricio Pochettino, they possess two of the Premier League’s best managers and both are home to some exceptionally gifted players. Having overachieved during the 2015/16 campaign, the pressure going into 2016/17 is fierce, there is no longer just hope of lodging themselves in the European places, but a distinct sense of expectation.
Transfer deals don’t crop up often between two London clubs. Local rivalry holds firm as any negotiations take place and many a player will reject the option of being openly despised for betraying their beloved fanbase in favour of a move across the capital.
However, that shouldn’t stop Spurs from considering a swift steal from West Ham. Maybe they should start with these THREE…
Tottenham are in need of width. As much as Mauricio Pochettino prefers his nominated wide players to tuck in, the squad would benefit from the pace and power of Michail Antonio.
Having been used as a right-back for much of the second half of last season, Antonio may well welcome the chance to move on from the Irons if he can return to his more natural role on the wing. Notching eight Premier League goals during the last campaign, Antonio would be a valuable goal threat for Pochettino’s side to complement Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
After making a superb debut against Arsenal at the start of last season, many would have expected Reece Oxford to become one of the leading breakthrough stars of the season. Although it did not quite come about in that way, Oxford delivered several impressive performances and showed his versatility as he often filled in as a third centre-back.
The 17-year-old Hammer has the world at his feet. And it’s hard to think of a better manager for a young player than Mauricio Pochettino right now. Of course, West Ham will not let such a prized asset go easily, but Oxford would be the ideal marquee signing for Spurs heading in to the new season.
Byram arrived at West Ham as one of the best young full-backs in the country and has shown glimpses of what he is capable of. The former Leeds man can play anywhere down the right flank and would, certainly longer-term, be a definite upgrade on Kieran Trippier.
Although Byram has plenty of work to do on his game defensively, he is a powerful runner and a persistent overlapping threat. Yet to quite make his mark as a Hammer, Byram is unlikely to be targeted by other clubs just yet, but it won’t be long before West Ham’s rivals come calling.