Despite the fact that David Moyes identified a number of areas within his West Ham United squad that needed strengthening in the January transfer window, the 58-year-old ultimately failed to bring any fresh faces to the London Stadium prior to Monday evening’s deadline.
Indeed, it was reported that the Scot wanted to sign at least a new left-back, centre-back and centre-forward last month, with the club being linked with a host of different players in all three positions throughout January.
However, despite having 31 days to do business, West Ham appeared to leave the vast majority of their moves until the final day of the market, something that – rather unsurprisingly – saw the Premier League side exit the window in exactly the same condition they entered it.
So, what could West Ham’s starting XI have looked like if Moyes had managed to land his top targets last month? Here’s what we think.
While West Ham were obviously linked with more players than we have included in our failed transfer XI, including Leeds United duo Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, as well as Atalanta centre-forward Duvan Zapata, we have decided to focus on the players for whom moves seemed to be most likely last month.
At centre-back, should West Ham have coughed up what looked to be an extremely reasonable £15m for Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car, the 25-year-old would have undoubtedly started ahead of the likes of £67k-per-week Issa Diop – who Stuart Pearce dubbed a “colossus” – and Craig Dawson alongside Kurt Zouma in the heart of the Hammers backline.
The second missed signing comes at left-back, with RMC Sport reporting that the Irons did not make a move for the £8.1m-rated Layvin Kurzawa on deadline day as Moyes could not find Arthur Masuaku a move away from the club.
In attacking midfield, West Ham once again failed to get a deal over the line for Jesse Lingard, after Manchester United blocked both the Hammers’ and Newcastle United’s late moves for the England international – who, as he proved last season, would have made an excellent addition to the Irons’ attacking arsenal.
Finally, the last failed transfer was for Benfica hotshot Darwin Nunez, the centre-forward who appeared to be Moyes’ top target in the position as the window drew to a close, with the Scot submitting a €50m (£41.5m) offer for the 22-year-old.
Indeed, the Uruguay international would have arguably been an upgrade on Michail Antonio in leading the line for the Hammers, however, once again, a move for the £28.8m-rated sensation fell through at the 11th hour.
As such, while it would have been an extremely unlikely scenario in which the club landed all four of these signings in January, should Moyes and the West Ham board have truly wished to give themselves the best possible chance of securing a top-four finish this season, it is undeniable that these four additions to the Irons’ starting XI would have helped to fire them to the Champions League places come the end of the current campaign.