West Ham United are looking to strengthen their left back options after Aaron Cresswell was ruled out for up to six months with a knee injury. It will be interesting to see how Slaven Bilic deals with this as it is clear he sees Cresswell as his first choice left-back for the long term. Therefore only a temporary solution is required.
They have had a bid rejected for Martin Olsson in the region of £3m, according to Sky Sports. Norwich signed the Swedish full-back for £2.5 million three years ago and will make a small profit if they decide to sell him to West Ham. It is yet unknown whether the Hammers will return with an improved offer.
This is another setback for the club after Hull City turned down a £7m for Andrew Robertson. West Ham have struggled to sign top targets this summer as the price of the market has soared through the roof. They may only be searching for a left-back to fill in for the next few months, but it won’t be a cheap solution given clubs know West Ham have money to spend and are desperately need to strengthen in that position.
Olsson is a limited full back and has weaknesses in his game, which is why he has played for clubs near the bottom of the Premier League. However, he would be a solid addition to cover for Cresswell and would be a good squad option thereafter. There is no need to spend big on a left back as the club have Cresswell for the long term, therefore it makes sense to target Olsson, who would be solid cover.
He was one of the better players for Norwich and rarely rotated, unlike the majority of other players at the club. At Euro 2016, he stood out for Sweden and was their best-attacking outlet as he surged forwards down the left wing. He is certainly above Championship level and he will be keen to get a move back to the top flight, especially to a club as ambitious as West Ham.
The Swede is an attacking minded full-back and would be a like-for-like replacement for Cresswell in that sense. He has more pace than the Englishman and his high work rate allows him to get up and down the left flank for the entire game. Olsson possesses a great delivery and would add a lot to the West Ham offence. However, defensively he is suspect and not as effective as the man he would be covering for. He can make mistakes and that was evident last season as Norwich leaked goals throughout the entire campaign.
West Ham need to strengthen the left back area as they had to use Sam Byram there in their first Europa League game, and he isn’t a natural on the left side. They may need to free him up to play in his favoured right-back role, especially as Michail Antonio looked suspect there in the same match. Antonio is a right winger by trade and Bilic needs to sort out the composition of his back four quickly as they look shaky going into the season.
They may need to increase their bid to around the £5 million mark, but if they can do a deal at that price, Olsson would be a good addition. He played regularly in the Premier League last season and didn’t look out of his depth.
As a stop-gap replacement for Aaron Cresswell, he will do well and provide the attacking threat that West Ham need at full back. However, his defending isn’t up to the level of Cresswell and that could prove to be a problem. West Ham need to sign somebody and as they are only looking for cover, Olsson is a good fit.
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