West Ham United are yet to see the very best from summer signing Lucas Paqueta but manager David Moyes could get the best out of the Brazilian by playing him in a deeper role.
The 25-year-old midfielder joined the Hammers from Lyon in a club-record deal worth £51m but he is yet to replicate the fantastic form he showed in Ligue 1 with his new club.
Last season saw the 25-year-old notch nine goals and six assists in 35 appearances for Lyon, averaging an impressive 7.24 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
He has managed no goals and just two assists in eight appearances for the Hammers in the Premier League, averaging a solid, if unspectacular, 6.90 rating, which suggests that he is still adapting to the demands of top-flight English football.
While injury kept him out of some games ahead of the World Cup, Moyes will surely be taking note of his performances for The Seleção in Qatar, and he could solve a big problem at the London Stadium by utilising Paqueta in the same role he plays for Brazil.
In Thursday’s 2-0 win against Serbia, the West Ham man started alongside Casemiro ahead of the likes of Fred, Fabinho and Bruno Guimaraes in Tite’s side, which shows how highly he is rated by the Brazil manager.
That selection paid off, as he would earn an impressive 7.2/10 rating from Sofascore for his performance, contributing one key pass from a deeper midfield position.
He also showed that he is capable of doing the dirty work as he produced a solid defensive display, contributing an impressive two clearances and four tackles, which is far more than the 1.5 clearances and 2.3 tackles he has averaged in the Premier League this season.
Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek are Moyes’ preferred midfield partnership at the moment and while they were once considered to be one of the best midfield pairings in the Premier League, the Czech international has struggled for consistent form recently.
Despite being a midfielder, Soucek ranks 13th for pass success rate, joint-1oth for key passes per game and sixth for shots per game in West Ham’s squad this season, with Paqueta ranked ninth, ninth and first for the same statistics, which suggests that it is time for Moyes to use him more often.
This would also free up the likes of Pablo Fornals or Said Benrahma to feature in a number 10 position for the Hammers, so Moyes could solve a big problem by unleashing Paqueta alongside Rice, as it would surely increase the creativity in a side which has managed just 12 goals in the top flight this season.