January transfers: Three areas West Ham need to strengthen
With the January transfer window around the corner, West Ham United and manager Manuel Pellegrini have plenty to think about as they sit 10th in the Premier League standings.
After a four-game winless streak in the league, the experienced Chilean may now have to consider his options and bring some adjustments to the squad.
It has been over a month since the Hammers won a game, with the last one being a 2-0 win at home against Manchester United.
Here are a few grey areas within the squad which Pellegrini could look to improve upon when the transfer window opens in January.
The West Ham manager has stuck to a 4-2-3-1 formation this season and it has not reaped dividends, with summer purchase Sebastien Haller being the main victim of this.
The Frenchman was bought from Eintracht Frankfurt after he fired 15 goals and provided 8 assists last season in the Bundesliga. However, things have not exactly been smooth at West Ham.
The striker has bagged four goals from nine appearances but numbers do not tell the whole story.
The 6ft 3in forward has not received proper service from either flank and has not had enough support in the final third as he has cut a frustrated figure up front.
Let’s face the facts now. West Ham clearly have a dearth in their attack if Haller picks up an injury.
Things will clearly move from bad to worse for the Hammers then. The Chilean is left with just one option up front, and that is Albian Ajeti.
Ajeti looked more like panic signing by West Ham. With just two substitute appearances, it is clearly evident that the coach is not a big fan of the Swiss international.
Pellegrini has Michail Antonio and the young Xande Silva to bank on, but both are out with injuries.
Antonio has suffered a hamstring injury and Xande is nursing his way back to fitness after a bowel obstruction surgery in the summer.
The West Ham manager surely needs to check his options in the attack when the market opens in January. Haller will clearly be the first-choice but Pellegrini definitely needs a backup, failing which all hell will break loose.
Cresswell currently holds the left-back spot but neither of the two has been able to cement a place in the team.
Argentine Pablo Zabaleta is out of contract and could leave at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Ryan Fredericks, who has started 9 games out of a possible 10, has nailed the right-back spot.
West Ham need a regular starter on the left. Constant changes at the back will affect the team’s rhythm and Pellegrini should be aware of it.
At present, West Ham have five centre-backs at their disposal. The Issa Diop-Angelo Ogbonna combination seems to be the most preferred option of Pellegrini.
True to his selection, both players were at the heart of the defence last time around and they did an amazing job. Fabian Balbuena is slowly integrating into the system and recently played in their 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.
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The 28-year old looked solid and would provide competition to Ogbonna, though the latter has been the most consistent Hammer due to his performances this season.
With the 18-year old Goncalo Cardoso clearly lacking experience and Winston Reid suffering injuries, Pellegrini may have to beef up his options at the back.