Why West Ham should plot a January swoop for Neil Etheridge
Back in May, the Wales Online had claimed that West Ham were interested in signing Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge. However, a move didn’t materialise as former Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock was reluctant to sell him in the summer.
Neil Etheridge, 29, was one of the rare bright sparks in an otherwise disappointing last campaign for the Bluebirds that ended in relegation from the Premier League. For his consistent performances between the sticks, he picked up the club’s Player of the Year award.
However, the Philippines international has played just six games in the Championship this season, managing one clean sheet in the process. With the Bluebirds 14th in the table having won just once in their last five league games, West Ham must look to test the Championship club’s resolve for Etheridge in January.
West Ham have faded after a promising start to the season which sees them go into the weekend placed 16th after 12 games. They have just 13 points from 12 games and haven’t won in their last five outings.
One of the reasons for the Hammers’ wretched run of form is down to some really big gaffes in the defence, especially in the goalkeeping department.
With Adrian having left London Stadium as a free agent, eventually heading to Liverpool, West Ham needed to find a new understudy for last season’s Hammer of the Year, Lukasz Fabianski. They eventually settled on Roberto and David Martin, who both joined the club on a free transfer.
Since Fabianski injured his hip last month, Manuel Pellegrini has gone with Roberto in goal. And the Spaniard has not covered himself in glory, making a whole lot of mistakes, including his shocking positioning for Newcastle United’s second and a dreadful attempt at a punch for Burnley’s third against West Ham before the international break.
It remains to be seen whether or not Pellegrini takes Roberto out of the firing line and starts third-choice David Martin against Tottenham at the weekend but the matter of fact is West Ham should look to reinforce their goalkeeping department in the New Year. To put things into perspective, Neil Etheridge could be an ideal fit at the London Stadium.
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Etheridge was really good between the sticks last season in the Premier League, racking up 10 clean sheets, which is a massive achievement considering he played for a Cardiff side that suffered relegation.
In the ongoing Championship campaign, the 29-year-old has averaged 2.7% saves. He barely has put a foot wrong and has not committed a single error which has led to a goal this season. [Courtesy: SofaScored.com]
A brilliant shot-stopper with a reliable pair of hands and the ability to play out comfortably from the back, Etheridge would be a solid signing for West Ham. He excelled in the top-flight last season and can be relied upon in goal.