West Ham United may be about to stumble on their ideal Mark Noble successor.
The 34-year-old midfielder will call time on his Irons career after over 18 years at the end of the 2021/22 season and it’ll leave David Moyes with a massive void to fill, not at least because he’s the club captain.
His presence has not been felt on the pitch as much as it has been in the past, having started only eight games last season, but it’s believed he’s still a crucial presence in and around the dressing room.
That veteran leader-like presence needs to be replaced and that will be no easy task.
The Hammers signed another Czech Republic sensation in Alex Kral on a loan-to-buy agreement with Russian outfit Spartak Moscow and he could be one potential solution.
However, he is still vastly inexperienced in the Premier League and that could take quite some time to flourish into a long-term and natural heir.
Instead, the real option could lie in one of West Ham’s mooted transfer targets for 2022 – and he reportedly won’t cost a penny.
According to The Sun, Juventus are ready to offload Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer as early as January after the Wales international has struggled for game time since his move from Arsenal in 2019.
But he has bags of experience and a proven track record in the Premier League, so he could well be the one to fill that massive void in midfield.
During his time at the Gunners, he won multiple FA Cup trophies, recorded over 262 appearances in the English top-flight and played over 60 games across both of UEFA’s top European competitions.
The Welshman provided 65 goals and 65 assists in over a total of 370 matches in north London, in which he recorded a career-best of 13 goals and ten assists during the 2013/14 campaign, as per Transfermarkt.
BT Sport pundit Martin Keown also once described him as a “great leader” and an “outstanding technician” – even more reasons pointing towards him being a better replacement for Noble than Kral.
Valued at £13m by CIES Football Observatory, the east London outfit must seriously consider a move for Ramsey in 2022. He could potentially be the man to replace their departing club hero.