West Ham, apart from needing strikers, also need a quality right-back.
With Carl Jenkinson so seriously injured last year that he was out for the remainder of the season, West Ham struggled to fill the void.
Players attempted to cover admirably with Palace player, James Tomkins more often than not deputising in that position. Joey O’Brien had fitness concerns and didn’t play very often, Sam Byram was drafted in from Leeds in January and the pacy winger, Michail Antonio also stepped into the breach when required.
However, an experienced, talented right-back is required, not a make shift cover, that’ll-do-for-now solution.
One player is glaringly obvious and ticks all of the boxes. Bilic and the Board should now be calling the players agent and discussing terms, signing him within the week.
And that player is free agent Alvaro Arbeloa.
At 33-years-old, Real Madrid have let the Spaniard go and although he is not as young as West Ham’s recruitment policy criteria allows, he is just what The Hammers need this season.
His former coach Jose Mourinho said in an interview with MARCA that he valued the full-back’s off-field contributions as much as his on-field ones.
He said: “Arbeloa does not have that high a profile, but is certainly one of those who has given Real Madrid, its fans, all of his coaches and his teammates all that he had.
“In my 16 years of coaching I have him, surely, on the podium of the most important players with whom I have worked.”
He was also good enough to turn out for Real Madrid 238 times altogether, a feat few players are talented enough to achieve and to have won 58 caps for Spain during one of the most competitive eras in the nation’s history. Playing an integral role in Los Blancos’ charge to the 2011/12 La Liga title, he played 26 times as the first team stole the league title back from Barcelona for the first time in the Pep Guardiola era.
Arbeloa was still a useful squad player as the club clinched ‘La Decima’ and then the ‘Undecima’ Champions League triumphs. The full-back has won more silverware in the past 15 years than most Premier League clubs have in their entire history.
Arbeloa’s legs may not have allowed him much playing time last season, but his enthusiasm and consistent dedication to training even when he knew he would not be playing did set an example to the whole team. Imagine the youth set up at the Academy having that kind of experience to draw upon.
At 33 he is hardly past it and would be a perfect fit, with plenty of game time to keep him happy. If Bilic wants experience without a transfer fee, then look no further than this player.
Time to pick up the phone, Mr. Bilic.