West Ham Opinion: Should the Hammers sign Santiago Ascacíbar?
Manuel Pellegrini and West Ham had a very interesting summer in 2018, with the club signing the likes of Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez. While a few of his signings have impressed, some have struggled to make an impact with both Wilshere and Sanchez suffering injuries.
However, one mistake the club did make was not looking towards the future and adding someone who could replace Mark Noble. The Hammers captain is the team’s lynchpin and without his calming influence on the field, the team has suffered of late.
While Declan Rice’s rise has been phenomenal, the Englishman does need a midfield partner and that’s not something Noble will be able to do for too long. The Premier League is a very physically demanding league and for a 31-year-old, the game does tend to pass Noble by sometimes.
That’s where the club should look towards in the summer and with the club looking to sell Pedro Obiang (Sun), they should make a move for Santiago Ascacíbar.
The Stuttgart defensive midfielder has been the only bright spot in an otherwise terrible season for the Bundesliga side. At the moment, they sit in a relegation playoff spot with many expecting them to fall even further in the near future.
However, for Ascacíbar, that does mean that he has to look for new opportunities and given his skill-set, there are few clubs that won’t take him.
Barely 22 years old, he has been impeccably brilliant for Stuttgart since his arrival and his unique range of abilities make him close to perfect for the Premier League.
A midfield enforcer, the Argentine can be compared to Roy Keane, Gennaro Gatusso and Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira, but he could end up outdoing them.
However, Ascacíbar does all this despite being only 5’7”, and has never let his diminutive size stop him. His tenacity and aggression to win the ball back would be perfect for West Ham.
Moreover, he is capable of pushing the play forward. At the moment, Mark Noble does that job but Santiago Ascacíbar has begun to show why he could replace him. That combined with the fact that he’s only 22 years old does make him a long-term prospect.
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With VFB Stuttgart in trouble, there should be a few clubs ready to offer Santiago Ascacíbar first-team football next season. That does put the onus on West Ham and Manuel Pellegrini to make the right move and if they do, it would be a hugely beneficial move.