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West Ham United

West Ham should snap up relegated England international Jack Butland

The Stoke City star will not be short of offers this summer.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

After Stoke City‘s crushing 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace sealed their relegation to the Championship on Saturday, focus quickly shifted to the future destinations of the Potters’ stars.

Among these possibly outgoing players is goalkeeper Jack Butland, a superb shot-stopper that West Ham must target this summer to solve their defensive issues.

The Hammers have struggled all season to find a reliable first-choice keeper, with both Adrián and Joe Hart unconvincingly vying for the starting role.

Inconsistency at the back has been the standout concern for West Ham this season, as the east London side have conceded a remarkable 67 goals to date – the most in the entire league.

Hart, the 31-year-old former England number one, has endured a particularly poor year at the London Stadium.

The Manchester City loanee has made a host of high-profile errors that have led to goals, most notably a terrible fumble that allowed Stoke’s Peter Crouch to score in late April.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The perfect solution for West Ham’s goalkeeping woes could come in the form of the 25-year-old keeper Jack Butland.

In an abject Stoke side, Butland has provided a lone bright spot, consistently contributing stunning stops and crucial blocks that have saved the Potters’ season from being even worse.

In addition, the Englishman holds the outstanding record of having made the most saves in the Premier League this season, with a remarkable 135 stops so far.

Butland ranks above Jordan Pickford, David de Gea, Thibaut Courtois, and more in the prestigious ranking.

A player of his quality between the sticks at West Ham would be a massive boost to the club’s long-term stability and defensive prowess.

Already an England international at the age of 25, Butland has the potential to be the Hammers’ first choice goalkeeper for the next decade.

Furthermore, Butland has refused to commit his future to the Bet365 Stadium, claiming in the aftermath of the Palace defeat that his sole focus is the World Cup and “beyond that we’ll have to wait and see.”

West Ham must make the transfer of the Stoke goalkeeper a top priority this summer to shore up their frustratingly leaky defence and secure a long-term rock at the back.

Max is an 18-year-old football journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football, is an avid follower of Fulham, and co-hosts a weekly Fulham podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini’s poor China record should give West Ham cause for concern

The Chilean international looks set to join the Hammers.

Max Cohen

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Pellegrini
Photo: Getty Images

As Manuel Pellegrini inches closer to being named West Ham United’s new manager, many have applauded the potential appointment of a Premier League-winning boss.

With spells at some of the world’s most successful clubs, the Chilean is certainly an impressive acquisition for the Hammers.

Yet Pellegrini’s most recent coaching assignment has been nothing short of mediocre, a sign that should slightly worry West Ham supporters.

Pellegrini officially left Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune on Saturday, after just under two years at the club.

The Chilean was appointed in August 2016 and registered an unspectacular record at the club.

Pellegrini’s first season ended with Hebei in fourth position, yet the club missed out on AFC Champions League qualification by one place.

This year, the team has taken a dramatic step back in the opening months of the season.

(Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images)

Under Pellegrini’s management, Hebei China Fortune currently sit eighth out of the 16-team Chinese Super League.

The side has only picked up just 15 points from 11 matches to date, a disappointing return considering Pellegrini has talents such as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hernanes, and Gervinho at his disposal.

As the Chinese Super League is a far less important and internationally relevant league than La Liga or the Premier League, Pellegrini can perhaps be forgiven for not taking his job as seriously as his past assignments at Malaga, Real Madrid, and Manchester City.

Yet, his Chinese struggles are worrying nonetheless, as ideally West Ham supporters would like to be acquiring the services of a manager who enjoyed success at his most recent club.

In all, the ex-Manchester City manager still has a Premier League title to his name, a fact that makes his recent tough spell in Asia less concerning.

Nevertheless, Manuel Pellegrini’s underwhelming time at Hebei China Fortune reveals that the manager still possesses flaws and should not be expected to work immediate wonders at West Ham.

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Crystal Palace

West Ham can’t afford to lose Michail Antonio to Crystal Palace

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Photo: Getty Images.

Uncertainty surrounds West Ham United as a summer rollercoaster looks inevitable with big changes on and off the field. That is starting with a change in the dug-out, where The Times say that former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is favourite to replace David Moyes. The club could pay a heavy price though, with Michail Antonio potentially at risk.

The Guardian say that London rivals Crystal Palace are looking to do their transfer business early and could pounce on the chaos at the London Stadium to poach the winger away from the Hammers.

The former Sheffield Wednesday man missed much of the 2017/18 season with on and off injuries from bruised ribs to calf strains and a pulled hamstring, which may suggest that now could be the right time to cash in on the explosive 28-year-old who relies on physicality and dynamic pace.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,)

Yet despite that, West Ham cannot afford to be tempted into selling. Despite being sidelined by injury at various points throughout the season, when fit Antonio was always one of the first names on the team sheet under both Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

Antonio’s tenacity and determination shows why a new manager, whether it is Pellegrini or not, should look to build their team around the winger. Able to play in a variety of roles and a real fan favourite, the unpopular Irons board would be taking a huge gamble by allowing Antonio to depart.

It is no surprise that Palace are interested, and had it not been for injury some much more high profile clubs could have come calling, but West Ham must retain the services of Michail Antonio if they are to pursue hopes of pushing for Europe.

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West Ham United

West Ham should look to Valencia’s Rodrigo Moreno to evolve their attack

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Photo: Getty Images.

A summer of change is on the horizon for West Ham United this summer with the board currently on the look-out for a new manager. On top of that, the Daily Mail recently reported that attacking duo Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll both want out of the club, meaning that one of the first challenges for the new man in charge will be to revolutionise his attacking set-up. And one man he could turn to would be Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno.

There have been no reports linking Rodrigo with a move to the London Stadium and it would take a strong financial package to convince the Spanish international to give up Champions League football, but Calciomercato recently claimed that he would cost just £30 million with Tottenham and Everton among the clubs to be hovering.

Having been Valencia’s top scorer this season with 19 goals to date, Rodrigo’s pace and intelligent movement up-front would offer exactly what his side have been crying out for in a one dimensional attack all season long.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

David Moyes even resorted to fielding Marko Arnautovic as a makeshift centre-forward at time purely for his pace and strength, something that Rodrigo has in abundance. Having shone up against the defences of Barcelona, Real Madrid and many other top European sides in Spain, he could relish the chances to do so away from the Iberian peninsula.

Valencia themselves could be open to a deal if the offer is right, according to MARCA, and it is hard to see why West Ham would be put off. The club have tended to focus on players with experience of British football of late but that has not produced results.

The 27-year-old has shown that his ability to dribble and create chances out of nothing would bring back entertainment to east London, something that has been sorely missing for the Hammers and their fans ever since Dimitri Payet left in January 2017.

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