West Ham: Chelsea midfielder targeted; defender ruled out; Noble discusses form

The Mirror claim that the Hammers could make a January move for Chelsea reject Cesc Fabregas if he fails to secure a more regular first team place in the coming weeks and months before the transfer window re-opens. Fabregas has spoken of how difficult he has found the opening weeks of the season, only starting his first Premier League game of the season on Saturday evening against his former club Arsenal, and even then he was substituted shortly after half-time.

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The Spaniard is desperate to avoid allowing his career to stagnate on the bench at Stamford Bridge and was reportedly keen on a move to Real Madrid before the transfer window slammed shut on deadline day. AC Milan were said to be interested but could not afford the World Cup winner in 2010, and the Irons believe that he may be the solution to their midfield problem. Slaven Bilic has depth in the middle of the park but there is a clear lack of quality, with a number of questionable performances to date this season, and could splash out on Fabregas to help recover from an appalling start to the season which sees them in the bottom three.

Their poor start to the season has gone from bad to worse with the news that summer signing Arthur Masuaku has damaged knee ligaments after being stretchered off in the late EFL Cup win over Accrington Stanley in midweek, meaning he will be out of action for around six weeks, claim the Daily Mail. The Frenchman was signed as a £6 million cover option for Aaron Cresswell, who is out for another few months with a nasty knee injury of his own.

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Masuaku had produced mixed displays for the Hammers and came in for criticism in the defeat against West Brom where he was responsible for the first Baggies goal and could easily be blamed in the other three too. With no other senior recognised left-back in the squad, Slaven Bilic may have to play Sam Byram or an only recently fit again Alvaro Arbeloa at left-back, rather than their preferred right-back position, to cover for the next few weeks whilst Masuaku recovers.

The news is made even worse ahead of a crunch clash with Southampton at the London Stadium on Sunday, with the Hammers hoping to secure their second win of the season. However, captain Mark Noble remains optimistic and has put the side’s poor start to the season down to poor luck, telling the Guardian:

“I think we’ve got certainly the best squad since I’ve been playing. The way football is, sometimes, everything that could go wrong goes wrong. You have to dig yourselves out of that by simply working hard and sticking together.”

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Noble, who was linked with an England international call-up last month, was rested in midweek after a poor start to the season on both a personal and team level, but believes in Slaven Bilic, saying:

“When results go against you, that’s when you really test how good you are as a team. I’d say if we needed a rocket up our backsides, I would say so. But I really believe in this team and the manager.”

Now the challenge will be for the 29-year-old local lad to inspire his team to get back on form as they adapt to life at their new home.

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