This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
West Ham United have made a major mistake this summer.
And yet the club have made no moves to bring in a central midfielder in this transfer window.
The latter, of course, is the best option. He enjoyed a superb 2018/19 campaign and has become England’s first-choice defensive midfielder as a result.
Yet the Irons are clearly pinning their hopes on the 20-year-old replicating those displays last season.
As it is, there remains a risk that both Wilshere and Sanchez could pick up an injury at any time. And that would leave them with a kid – a gifted kid who has shown he has a high ceiling with excellent performances against the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool – and a man approaching the twilight of his career.
This is an oversight of epic proportions.
Now, many will claim that the Hammers’ hand was forced by Arnautovic’s departure and, in a way, it was. Who knows if the club will have paid an initial fee of £45m for Haller, per sources, if Arnautovic had not departed?
But sources confirmed to Football FanCast at the time of the club’s pursuit of Fornals that they would not be pursuing a defensive-minded midfield player.
That decision was made early on in the transfer window.
And that, again, is an error. Take a look at the clubs aiming to break into the top six next season – the likes of Everton and Leicester City.
The Toffees have signed Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes this summer, two players who are capable of playing in central midfield, and they join James McCarthy, Idrissa Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin, Muhamed Besic and Tom Davies. That’s seven options. Leicester have bought Youri Tielemans and also boast Daniel Amartey, Matty James, Adrien Silva, Nampalys Mendy, Wilfred Ndidi, Andy King and Hamza Choudhury. That’s eight.
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West Ham will have four. That bears repeating. They will have four options in central midfield if a deal for Obiang to depart is completed.
Now, FFC sources have said that the Hammers really don’t have much money, but the way in which they have set up for this summer speaks to negligence.
Mario Husillos, the club’s Director of Football, has done two very difficult deals this summer for two foreign players that Manuel Pellegrini asked for.
But it feels remiss that he has not even suggested the possibility of buying a midfielder.
West Ham, as it is, are going to be forced to cross their fingers and pray that no player gets injured.
That does not feel like the way a Premier League club should be conducting their business, particularly not one with any particularly high ambitions.