West Ham have been hit with injuries to many of their key players this season, prompting the rumour mill to stir into life as Manuel Pellegrini looks to reinforce his midfield options in the January window. However, a bit of work on the training ground gives the Chilean a brilliant new option and diminishes the need to delve into the market come the new year.
West Ham have lost Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere to long-term injuries and have called upon their wider squad to fill in the gaps.
20-year-old Grady Diangana has come into the side with great effect, impressing with his pace and trickery, while Robert Snodgrass has won plaudits for his work-rate.
Currently slotting in next to Mark Noble in a 4-1-4-1, the Scot looks transformed as a central midfielder and should continue in the middle of the park in pursuit of a similar end result to that of James Milner, who is up there with Liverpool’s best signings in recent years after being tucked into a midfield three.
While he rarely makes headlines, the former wide man has become the engine of the Reds’ midfield and Snodgrass has all the attributes to emulate the Mancunian if he can work on his defensive game.
The former Hull City man has quality passing ability and vision already with a hammer of a left foot, but lacks the dynamism, pace and unpredictability to displace Felipe Anderson, Yarmolenko or even Diangana – so this looks to be his only route into the first team.
Work-rate is a key part of Milner’s game and Snodgrass’ tireless chasing shows his willingness to work hard and battle for his team right to the final whistle.
If Pellegrini can keep faith in the number 11 it could prove to be a masterstroke that turns an initially underwhelming and somewhat boring signing into one of West Ham’s most important players.