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 ought to give Josh Cullen a chance.
Charlton Athletic want to sign the midfielder, per sources, in this transfer window on a permanent basis after taking him on loan for the entirety of last season, but he has been taking part in the Hammers’ pre-season tour of Asia.
He started the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United, though he was left on the bench for the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City.
Cullen has made a total of nine first-team appearances for the Irons and has played just three times in the Premier League. One of those appearances came in the 2015/16 season.
Yet there is an opening in this squad.
The Hammers’ central midfield options are thin on the ground as Pedro Obiang nears a move to Sassuolo in Serie A, per Manuel Pellegrini.
Declan Rice, of course, is excellent and has become an England international thanks to his superb displays in 2018/19, but Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez are injury-prone and Mark Noble is ageing.
Cullen is 23 and has a contract until 2020; this would be the perfect time to give him the opportunity to earn a new deal.
It is no surprise that Charlton are interested; he played an integral role as the club won promotion to the Championship from League One, making 32 appearances in all competitions and turning in some superb performances in the play-offs. He played the entire 90 minutes in the final, as the Addicks beat Sunderland 2-1 at Wembley.
Of course, excellent performances in the third-tier of English football do not necessarily translate to excellent performances in the Premier League.
But with the midfield situation as it is at the London Stadium, there are very few better options out there.
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Sources have confirmed that West Ham do not have a huge amount of money with which to operate in the remainder of the transfer window, having already signed Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals. The former arrived for a club-record fee of £45m, per sources, with the potential to rise to £50m.
Cullen would not cost the Irons anything and he has done all he can while out on loan to earn a shot.
He deserves the opportunity to prove his worth.