West Ham United welcomed a few new faces to the London Stadium this summer, but some of the old guard will be keen to retain their place in David Moyes’ plans once the international transfer window has slammed shut.
The door still remains open for the Irons to forge a raid on Brentford for their star winger Said Benrahma until October 16 after a summer endlessly linked with the Algerian, who failed to land a move away from his Championship side before Monday’s 11pm deadline struck.
If David Gold and David Sullivan are not able to find the funds needed to sign the author of 17 goals and 10 assists last season, Moyes will be expected to persist with the same attacking line-up of Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals after a strong start to the season left the Hammers just a point outside of the Europa League places going into the international break.
But with new faces elsewhere in the West Ham ranks, here’s a line-up Hammers fans could see when their side return to action away to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on October 18…
Bowen, Antonio and Fornals all deserve a great deal of credit for the start to the season West Ham have managed, with all three contributing crucial goals and assists already.
Antonio opened his account for the Premier League campaign away to Arsenal on September 19 as the game edged toward half-time with the Gunners a goal to the good, and followed the strike in north London with the opener at Leicester City last Sunday with an excellent header.
Bowen also found the net at the King Power Stadium as the Irons beat Leicester on the road for only the second time since 2012, moving his tally for the season onto three after a key brace against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Fornals made it a perfect day at Leicester for West Ham’s front three when he fired home his first of the campaign with a composed finish following a fantastic touch, ensuring his place in Moyes’ plans will remain intact after the international break.
Having managed to retain Declan Rice amid interest from Chelsea this summer, Moyes will be glad to be able to name an unchanged pairing in the engine room of the England international and Tomas Soucek, having welcomed the Czech Republic international back to east London in a £19.1m deal in July following his half-season on loan.
Rice recorded 29 accurate passes with an 88% success rate, won two of his four ground duels and one tackle against Leicester while smashing the bar, per SofaScore, and Soucek accounted for seven successful aerial contests, five ground duels won, four tackles, four interceptions and four clearances with a mammoth display.
The West Ham backline could look very different to the one which ended the 2019/20 season when the Irons face Spurs later this month, with Moyes potentially able to name two signings in Vladimir Coufal and Ryan Manning.
Coufal completed a £5.4m deal to join the Hammers from Slavia Prague three days before the summer window slammed shut, and stood out as he made his Irons debut in the 3-0 win over Leicester with nine duels attempted, three clearances, interceptions and tackles, two attempted crosses and three long balls while taking 53 touches.
Manning, on the other hand, could yet be on his way to east London from west after reports linked the Queens Park Rangers full-back with a potential £5m deal on Deadline Day, offering Moyes a marauding defender with a keen eye for goal to replace Arthur Masuaku after 97 appearances in claret and blue.
Aaron Cresswell’s performances at centre-half should also ensure he retains his place alongside Angelo Ogbonna, who built a brick wall in front of Lukasz Fabianski’s net at the King Power Stadium that left the Poland international a mere passenger of a great result.
Issa Diop’s return to training following a positive test for coronavirus came too late for the Frenchman to make the travelling squad to face Leicester, but the 23-year-old’s efforts in the defeats by Newcastle United and Arsenal – with a 100% tackle success rate, seven clearances and three interceptions, per WhoScored – should see him return.