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Transfer Opinion: Why West Ham need defensive additions

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2016-17 was an unsuccessful season for West Ham both on and off the pitch. The Hammers were unable to build upon 2015-16’s seventh place finish following the historic move away from The Boleyn Ground to The London Stadium.

Many blame this upon poor dealings within the transfer window, with the club being unable to bring in a 20 goal a season striker as promised by owner David Sullivan and many arguing the squad got weaker with the departure of players such as James Tomkins, Alex Song, Victor Moses and Joey O’Brien. There is definitely work to be done...

Goalkeeper

Adrian was called up to the Spain squad for the first team this season, but within a month was dropped from the West Ham side due to constant rash errors.

Ireland’s no.1 Darren Randolph came in and despite initial good performances, made several high-profile mistakes which seemed to affect his confidence and judgement.

Adrian was recalled and kept four clean sheets in six games, but was poor in the 0-4 thrashing by Liverpool.

West Ham essentially have two very good second choice goalkeepers with opposing strengths and weaknesses, West Ham need to find a ‘keeper who is very good in all attributes.

Right Back

West Ham have not paid money for a genuine right back since Lucas Neill arrived in January 2007.

For the second half of 2015-16, it became clear West Ham needed a new right back. This came in the shape of Alvaro Arbeloa. Then 33, Arbeloa, played just four matches for the club and reportedly fell out with Slaven Bilic. Which was a shame, his legs had gone but he knew what he was doing.

Michail Antonio, Havard Nordtveit, Cheikou Kouyate and Sam Byram played at right back throughout 2016-17.

With the first three, they tried hard but their instincts weren’t that of a right back. Byram has shown potential but is still raw and error prone.

West Ham leaked goals down the right side like there was no tomorrow.

Pablo Zabaleta has signed and should be a good mentor for Byram, but it is unclear if he still has the legs.

Centre Back

West Ham lost James Tomkins in the summer window of 2016.

A fourth centre-back was not signed.

Winston Reid played well throughout the season but James Collins looked like it was a season too far, Angelo Ogbonna was forced to play through a serious injury.

Ogbonna had an operation following the signing of Southampton’s Jose Fonte. Fonte looked shaky initially but has since got used to playing in the system. Collins also saw a resurgence towards the end of the season, putting in heroic performances.

However, with rumours linking Collins away, West Ham would need a fourth centre-back to avoid a repeat of the start of last season when the side conceded plenty of goals.

Defensive Midfield

Those centre-backs are aging.

They need a strong defensive shield to protect them. Too many times last season, the midfield left the defence vulnerable.

West Ham’s current defensive midfielder Pedro Obiang, who spent the last couple of months of the season injured, is a fine deep lying playmaker.

But the side need a different kind of defensive midfielder, an anchor man who sits in the whole and basically destroys people. Like a sweeper, sitting in between defence and midfield.

Forward

West Ham struggled to score goals last season.

There’s no doubting Andy Carroll’s ability, but his injuries just haven’t subsided. Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia seem already out the door.

West Ham need a man who can score goals and thus keep them in games.

Simone Zaza was a disaster and Jonathan Calleri has returned to his parent club.

Calleri started to show some good attributes towards the end of the spell, with good movement, passing and hold up play and is still young enough to be have good qualities to be coached into him.

Perhaps, a second loan?




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