An impressive summer of recruitment could be set to continue at the London Stadium as reports suggest that West Ham have lodged a £20 million bid for Croatia international Domagoj Vida.
The Besiktas defender made a name for himself with his impressive displays at the World Cup in Russia and BeIN Sports Turkey claim that West Ham were so impressed that they have made a formal offer.
The report goes on to suggest that the two clubs remain in negotiations over a potential deal, but just who would it affect the most in east London?
Winner: Declan Rice
This pre-season has already been a good one for the young defender, who will look to consolidate himself as a first team regular under Manuel Pellegrini in 2018/19. All that remains to be seen is in which position that will be.
“It’s a new manager coming in and I think everyone has got a fresh start under him. I can’t wait to show him what I’m about and what I can do. I played 32 or 33 times last year and I want to carry on this year. I want to keep playing games and keep improving and learning.”
The 19-year-old may continue as a central defender, where he ended the season under David Moyes, and could benefit hugely from the experience of Vida, or alternatively may move into holding midfield, where he has played throughout his time in the club’s youth set-up.
Vida’s arrival could give extra flexibility and also bring in an experienced option to field alongside him, though his popular status in the stands as much as in the directors’ box or in the dressing room will mean that he is unlikely to lose his spot if he can maintain his form.
Loser: Winston Reid
Expected to be out of action until October, according to BBC Sport, the last thing that the New Zealand captain will want is to know that his place will be even more under threat than it currently is.
Reid suffered a raft of injuries last season with a groin problem and knee injury preventing him from making more than 20 appearances in total, which at 30-years-old will be a major concern for Manuel Pellegrini.
This season could be decisive in where Reid’s future will lie given the emergence of Rice and potential arrival of Vida, despite having a contract until 2023.
West Ham must bring an end to lengthy Reece Oxford saga
The Hammers must bite the bullet and seel the teenage ace.
After months and months of speculation, it is remarkable that West Ham have reached mid-August with Reece Oxford still in their squad.
The 19-year-old has endured a rollercoaster few years in east London, catching the eye as a 16-year-old Premier League debutant in the opening week of the 2015-16 season with a thrilling performance in a 3-0 win over Arsenal but seeing opportunities severely limited since.
Three years later, Oxford has made just eight league appearances and has spent time on loan with Reading and Borussia Monchengladbach, the latter of whom were keen on a permanent deal for the highly-rated defender.
However, it appears that West Ham have missed their chance to cash in on a sale to Gladbach for a player Sky Sports states the Hammers are seeking £10m for, with the Bundesliga side appearing to have cooled their interest.
That leaves West Ham in a difficult position as it is clear Oxford has no future at the club in the eyes of Manuel Pellegrini, who has signed Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop this summer to push the teenager further down the pecking order.
Contracted until 2021, there is little change of Oxford leaving in a bargain deal like fellow youngster Domingos Quina did recently, joining Watford, but the circumstances can be compared to a ticking time bomb as the defender will surely be furious if he is not given a chance to leave this summer.
“I was desperate to come back to Borussia. Things went well for me at the end of the Hinrunde, which is why I wanted to return and complete the loan until the end of the season.”
Fortunately, German outlet Kicker states Hannover have expressed an interest in signing Oxford and West Ham should waste no time in entering negotiations for a permanent sale, which would suit all parties involved.
It is a shame that a player with Oxford’s potential has fallen so much in recent years and it should serve as a warning to West Ham in their treatment towards other promising youngsters – namely Declan Rice, who is yet to sign a new deal at the club.
West Ham fans criticise Mark Noble after Liverpool defeat
The veteran midfielder struggled against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
A new era has dawned at West Ham but Mark Noble remains in the heart of midfield despite all the changes made by Manuel Pellegrini.
The Hammers skipper is very much like Marmite. While many believe it is a travesty he is continuously overlooked by England, others would not be surprised to see the Faroe Islands snub an opportunity for him to feature in their midfield.
Fans are certainly a fickle bunch and West Ham supporters slotted into the latter category in their views towards Noble after Sunday’s dismantling at the hands of Liverpool, which leaves the Hammers rooted to the bottom of the table at the embryonic stage of the Premier League season.
Up against an organised and effective midfield, Noble did not impress in his performances and many fans are now calling for the skipper to be dropped for this weekend’s hosting of Bournemouth as a result, in what will be Pellegrini’s first match at the London Stadium.
Felipe hasn't shown much. Noble lost. Once again arnautovic is best player by a mile.
— Jordan? (@MichailDiCanio) August 12, 2018
Mark noble is not cut out for the premier league anymore
— Sam Allen ? (@samlallen_) August 12, 2018
Mark Noble the weakest link in that Midfield.
Very impressed with Anderson so far… Want to see more of him going forward
— Club de West Ham (@ClubdeWestHam) August 12, 2018
Noble. Genuinely awful.
— Alan (@_AlanWHUAlan_) August 12, 2018
REAL LIFE PEOPLE THOUGHT NOBLE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO START
— Jamie??????? (@JamieCOYl) August 12, 2018
It doesn’t matter how many signings West Ham make. It doesn’t matter how much money they spend in the process. What matters is that whoever is in charge continues to play Mark Noble. If you’re West Ham on Football Manager, getting him out of the team is the first thing you do!
— WK (@Wilkinnss) August 12, 2018
I genuinely think I could write an entire dissertation on why mark noble should not be starting for West Ham United
— Sam Allen ? (@samlallen_) August 12, 2018
Credit to West Ham for letting Make-a-Wish winner Mark Noble start in midfield against Liverpool
— Chris Edele (@ronalgringo) August 12, 2018
One winner, one loser for Liverpool as they trounced West Ham 4-0
Liverpool secured an impressive 4-0 opening day win over West Ham for their record equaling biggest ever win for a first league game in the Premier League era and it was an impressive day for many men.
Some in particular stood out, whilst those not involved may be fearing for how they can break into this team. So early on in the season, there is plenty at stake for many players in the squad.
Here are the key men affected by Sunday’s display:
Winner: James Milner
The dominant force in Liverpool’s midfield, Milner bossed every aspect of the game from his position. Creating more chances, covering more ground and playing more passes than anyone else, he was at the heart of almost everything that Liverpool created and was fundamental to their victory.
With Fabinho and Naby Keita having arrived this summer, it was a strong performance to prove a point that he warrants a regular place in the side and will not have done the likes of Fabinho or Jordan Henderson any favours as they look to work their way back into the team.
Loser: Dejan Lovren
Returning from World Cup duty injured could have some big consequences for the Croatian, particularly as Joe Gomez stepped up and filled his shoes comfortably in his absence. The youngster looked secure in his role alongside Virgil Van Dijk, making more blocks and clearances than any other player.
“He is not fit. Let me say it like this, last year he already had a few problems with that but he could obviously play – and played really good. Now in the World Cup, [playing] three times [for] 120 minutes it got a bit worse, but I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks. In the end, it is serious but not that serious, so it’s not that we need to be afraid that it will take him until whenever. In the moment he is not available, that’s true.”
With a prolonged spell on the sidelines potentially ahead of the defender, Lovren may fear for his future role. Having ended the season as undisputed first choice, that may change if Gomez can cement himself in the team.
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