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Would this be the ideal January window for West Ham United?

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Reuters

West Ham United had a big spending summer and they struggled to click under Slaven Bilic, which led to the sacking of the Croatian.

David Moyes was then a shock appointment by David Sullivan and David Gold. Supporters were underwhelmed by his arrival, but the team have now won three of their last seven Premier League matches, in addition to gaining credible draws against Arsenal and Tottenham.

The former Everton and Manchester United manager has got the side well organised, which was lacking under the previous regime and they start the month of January on an upwards trajectory.

There will be expectation from the supporters that the club will make signings as they owners have always been willing to back their managers throughout the years. Moyes will want to bring in some of his own players and build the squad in his image.

The main problem for the new manager is that the club spent a lot of money in the summer. Transfermarkt value their summer business at roughly £40 million, but the free signing of Pablo Zabaleta and loan signing of Joe Hart wouldn’t have come cheap.

The main aim for West Ham this window has to be to keep hold of Manuel Lanzini. Last January, they suffered the loss of their key man at the time Dimitri Payet and it would be devastating for them to meet a similar fate this year.

The growing expectation that Philippe Coutinho is going to leave Liverpool could have an effect on the future of the Hammers’ midfielder as the Reds have been linked in the past.

West Ham haven’t lost any of the last six matches that Lanzini has played in and he has contributed four assists during that period. He has become the creative hub of the side and it would be devastating to lose him during this window.

Although a move away may seem unlikely now, things move quickly in the transfer window and as a proven quantity in the Premier League, the Argentine will appeal to clubs looking for a quick fix.

It would be unwise for Liverpool to look to replace Coutinho in this window if they do sell him, due to the increased prices. However, as a stop gap replacement, Lanzini would be a good choice and the Hammers need to make sure he doesn’t emerge on any other club’s radar.

At the age of 24, he is one of the younger players in the current first team and David Moyes should be looking to build the team around him. In their new stadium, West Ham want to become a regular European side and their Argentine midfielder needs to play a big part in that journey.

There have also been rumours linking two other players away from the London Stadium. Andy Carroll has emerged as a surprise target for Chelsea, according to reports.

This is another one that seems crazy on the surface, but could make a lot of sense given the previous intentions of Antonio Conte. He wanted to sign Fernando Llorente as back-up to Alvaro Morata and the Hammers’ striker fits a similar profile.

Given his injury problems, this is a sale that could appeal to the club, but he should only be sold if there is an interest in signing a replacement. If not, it would be idiotic to sanction his departure.

The other player being linked with a permanent move is Reece Oxford, who has recently returned to the club from a loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach. It is believed that RB Leipzig want to sign the talented teenager on a permanent basis.

The move may appeal to the player as the German club are known for developing young talent and giving chances to them. However, he has been one of the brightest talents to come through at West Ham in recent years. They should do all they can to keep him at the club, even if that means first team assurances.

In fact, it would be beneficial for the club to offer them to Oxford as their biggest problems lie in defence. Too many of their defenders are too slow and that does leave them vulnerable to quick attackers.

Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell, James Collins, Winston Reid and Jose Fonte are all weak in this area. There are others in the squad with more mobility, but it is clear that they need better options at the back. Their homegrown defender could be a good solution to that. If they choose to sell him, a defender should jump to the top of their wish list.

The other big weakness of the squad is the lack of creative central midfielders. As mentioned earlier, Lanzini is their best player in this department, but he players further forward. They often use a combination of Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble. All have their uses, but none of them have a lot of creativity.

Jonjo Shelvey has been written about as a target, but it would take a big fee to convince Newcastle United to sell. If Moyes could motivate him like he has with Marko Arnautovic, it would be a great signing. However, that is a huge ask.

The next month is going to be eye-opening for West Ham supporters as it will show a lot about the club’s intentions. David Moyes was seen as a stop-gap by many. If that is the case, he is unlikely to be given big money to spend on players that he wants.

It could be a quiet window for the club with one eye on the summer. Although they are in a relegation fight, they have enough talent in their squad to survive comfortably. There isn’t as big a need for new players as there is for other clubs in the bottom half. A couple of additions would boost morale, but they aren’t desperate for them.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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West Ham set to seal signing of the summer in Declan Rice

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Photo: Getty Images.

The last few days may have been ones to forget for young West Ham defender Declan Rice after his error cost his side dearly at the Emirates, but things could be on the up as reports indicate that the club are set to offer the 19-year-old a new contract to commit his future to the club.

The London Evening Standard say that bosses are preparing a new offer to take his deal beyond his existing contract, signed in March 2017, which has only two years left to run.

The Ireland international began the season well under Slaven Bilic, usually playing in a holding midfield role, but has become a staple in the side in his new role in a three man defence.

Whether his long-term future lies in central defence or in midfield could depend upon who takes up the seat in the Hammers’ dugout next season, but it is clear that Rice has huge potential.

(during the Premier League match between Swansea City and West Ham United at Liberty Stadium on March 3, 2018 in Swansea, Wales.

The youngster is a strong tackler who isn’t afraid to get stuck in and reads the game well, particularly for a player with so little experience, and has justified his place in the Irons team of late.

With such an ageing squad being built around players past their best like Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra, particularly so in defence, Rice’s youth adds a long-term aspect to the planning and represents a player finally making the breakthrough where the likes of Reece Oxford and Reece Burke have struggled.

Another factor worth taking into consideration, and Rice’s representatives will likely have in mind when negotiating his new wage, will be that veteran James Collins’ contract is up this summer, and Rice could be a long-term replacement who is ready to step up as of now.

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What’s next for Jordan Hugill after becoming a West Ham outcast?

The former Preston striker has had a difficult time since his January move.

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Photo: Getty Images

When Jordan Hugill signed for West Ham United on January 31, many in east London had high hopes for the former Preston North End striker.

However, nearly three months later, the 25-year-old striker has played a grand total of 22 minutes for the Hammers and registered no goals.

The West Ham outcast must now look for a move back to the Championship to end his Premier League exile.

Hugill earned his big move to the top flight after an impressive first half of the 2017/18 season that saw him score ten times for the Lilywhites. The forward was coming off a productive 2016/17 season when he bagged 12 goals and was Preston’s top scorer.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

But his time at the London Stadium has been a deeply disappointing one. Hugill has played on a paltry three occasions for the Hammers: ten minutes against Brighton, two minutes against Watford, and ten minutes against Southampton.

The English striker was always going to find things difficult making the step up to the Premier League, but few expected him to struggle this much. It is telling that even when main striker Andy Carroll was out injured, Hugill was not granted a larger role in the first team.

With the season winding down, the ex-Preston man must be desperately searching for an escape from his West Ham nightmare.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Starved of playing time and vital confidence, Hugill would do well to seek a return to the Championship. With his physical style of play and target man attributes, the forward would slot in seamlessly in many a Championship squad.

One team that has been linked with the West Ham man is Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough; a club that would be a perfect setting for Hugill. Pulis cherishes hefty strikers that can bully defenders and lead the line like Hugill can, and would certainly grant him significant time on the pitch.

After his failed Premier League step-up, Jordan Hugill would do well to save his career and make the switch to the Riverside to link up with Tony Pulis.

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West Ham owners have taken right step to appease fans over transfers

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Photo: Getty Images.

After a disappointing season, West Ham finally seem to be implementing a change of tactic in terms of transfers to try to put an end to successive transfer windows of failure.

The Times say that negotiations with David Moyes over a new deal have included the possibility that there will be no new Director of Football appointed, with Moyes instead carrying the full responsibility for identifying and completing deals as he did in a previous role at Everton.

Moyes was reportedly given greater control over transfer dealings in January, though that may not be a positive for the Hammers. The only new arrivals were Inter Milan winger Joao Mario on loan, striker Jordan Hugill and left-back Patrice Evra on a free transfer.

Mario has done well, if not being entirely convincing, but Hugill and Evra have barely made a dent on the first-team and the signing of the latter, yet another experienced professional on a sizeable wage, has raised questions marks.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Based on his past experiences though, Moyes may well excel with such a role at the London Stadium. At Goodison Park he operated on a far smaller budget and picked up a series of gems, continually selling them on for a greater profit whilst also building a strong squad at the same time.

A disconnect between David Gold, David Sullivan and the management of the team has been clear, with the likes of Andre Ayew showcasing that the owners digging into their pockets has not always led to success.

That is a key factor in why fans have grown increasingly frustrated with their management of the club, and such a concession of power by placing the role into the hands of Moyes, shows a strong decision taking the club in the right direction as the owners step back and give more power to the employees of the club.

Whether it proves to pay off can only be seen in the long term. If Gold and Sullivan trust Moyes, give him funds to spend and have patience, it could be a hit. If they look to blame him for failure at the first glimpse of disappointment, it may be a disaster waiting to happen.

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