West Ham United have been gifted a huge injury boost ahead of their FA Cup clash with non-league side Stockport County as Arthur Masuaku may not need a second operation.
That’s according to Claret and Hugh, who claim the DR Congo international is making cautious progress toward a return to full training after undergoing surgery to fix a knee injury that had affected the 27-year-old for almost two years.
David Moyes expected Masuaku to face several months on the sidelines with fears of a second operation being required, should the Irons left-back continue to feel any lingering issues.
Masuaku is not believed to have reported any discomfort since the initial operation last month, having returned to slight training, with the £7m-rated ace able to carry out work in the gym despite continuing to have his knee in a brace.
West Ham will allow Masuaku further time for the injury to heal before increasing his training programme, with a view to having the Lille-born defender back available for first-team selection before the end of the season.
Masuaku had become Moyes’ favoured left-back before the unexpected surgery, with the former Manchester United boss calling on the £40,000-per-week dynamo to start all 10 of his Premier League appearances between matchdays two and 11.
Aaron Cresswell returned to the role against Leeds United and has continued to hold down the position since, barring last month’s 2-2 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion when academy product Ben Johnson was handed his first and only top-flight start of the term.
Masuaku eying a potential return before the end of the season will be warmly received by West Ham co-owner and Chairman David Sullivan, who may otherwise have been forced to spend in the winter market with Moyes rightly cautious about over-exerting Cresswell.
Moyes’ reluctance to place too much reliance on Cresswell has seen the Hammers linked with a string of potential options, including Rangers’ Borna Barisic, Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko, FC Barcelona’s Junior Firpo and Brentford’s Rico Henry.
Sullivan may now be able to convince Moyes to manage with Johnson serving as Cresswell’s deputy if Masuaku is likely to return before the end of the season, and put any available funds toward strengthening other areas of the side this month.