West Ham United have been left scrambling to find a new centre-back addition following the cruel injury blow to summer signing Nayef Aguerd.
As per journalist Toby Cudworth on Twitter, the Hammers’ “major priority” for the remainder of the window is to find cover for the Morocco international, with the 26-year-old – who only signed on a £30m deal last month from Rennes – having limped off in the recent pre-season defeat to Rangers.
In his attached piece for 90min, the transfer insider revealed that, while no timescale has been given as yet by the east Londoners, there are fears that Aguerd could potentially be absent until the start of 2023, ruling him out of the World Cup which is set to take place this winter.
While the 25-cap gem has undergone successful surgery, the report suggests that the possible length of his absence has forced David Moyes into the market once again, with the former Everton boss seeking an addition who offers ‘tactical versatility’ to be able to feature in a back four or a back three.
The wait to find a suitable stand-in could also see Issa Diop’s proposed move to newly-promoted Fulham put on hold, with the Irons surely not wanting to leave themselves short as the new season approaches.
It is proving a nightmare scenario for both Aguerd and West Ham, with Moyes likely ruing his luck at having lost one of his crucial summer additions to injury before competitive action has even begun.
The 59-year-old had seemingly earmarked the £10.8m-rated man and former Chelsea colossus Kurt Zouma as his preferred centre-back pairing for the upcoming campaign, although he will now be forced to rip it up and start again with just over a week to go until the Premier League resumes.
It will be no easy re-introduction to top-flight football for the Irons either, with ruthless champions Manchester City lined up as their first opponent of the 2022/23 season, Pep Guardiola’s outfit having strengthened even further this summer with the signing of prolific youngster Erling Haaland.
The Hammers boss does have the likes of Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna to call upon as reliable alternatives to the stricken Aguerd, although in the Italian’s case it remains to be seen if he can recapture his previous impressive form after missing the bulk of last season with a knee injury.
Having just three fit senior centre-back options – including the potentially departing Diop – is far from an ideal situation heading into a season which will see the club once again competing both domestically and in Europe, hence the urgent need to strengthen.
In truth, Moyes and co simply need to act now with the new campaign looming large, as not doing so could well prove costly.