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Half term report and clear who is top man


By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings

The schools are out for half term – so maybe now is as good a time as any to file a half term report on our four ‘new boys’.

Top of the class surely has to be the big man – Kurt Zouma. There was a never-ending stream of rumour and speculation surrounding the Chelsea central defender during the summer.

First he was coming to West Ham, then he wasn’t. Wages were said to be an issue preventing a deal, then the ever-present spectre of agents reared its head in print and on social media.

But if we believe anything we see and read, and that can be difficult sometimes, David Moyes had marked Zouma down as his ‘must have’ player, and the manager was determined to get that particular transfer over the line – and so it proved.

Brought straight into the side for the Europa League game against Dinamo Zagreb, where he was teamed up with Issa Diop, Kurt has been a virtual ever-present since.

Although Moyes appears to have decided on him and Angelo Ogbonna as his first choice pairing for Premier League games. Kurt has quickly settled into the back four, utilising all the experience he’s gained in the top flight with Chelsea and Everton. Solid as a rock at the back, he offers yet another aerial threat up front at set pieces. Zouma is yet to get on the scoresheet – but that’s sure to happen before too long.

Nikola Vlasic was another expensive addition  and one that came somewhat out of the blue, with various other names being mentioned. Vlasic was snapped up late in the window – and while not the out-and-out striker many were hoping for, he does have goals in his locker.

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Nikola has started just one Premier League game against Manchester United – other than that his league appearances have been cameos late in the game. He has made starts in all three Europa League games though. In some ways

Vlasic is being blooded in the same way that Moyes introduced Said Benrahma – gradually. At 24 he is still young and has plenty of learning time ahead of him.

The same can be said of Alphonse Areola who without being spectacular has not let anyone down when he has played. He had a full year’s Premier League experience with Fulham, and even though he found himself in the firing line too often for his own liking I suspect, he showed last season what he was capable of.

Lukas Fabianski is in the last year of an extended contract, having retired from international football to concentrate on his duties for West Ham. At 35 he’s no spring chicken, but he’s still seen as first choice ‘keeper by Moyes.

There are those who had written him off when Areola arrived, but that was not only foolish but premature in my opinion. Alphonse is another who will have to bide his time – which will come eventually.

Our last recruit Alex Kral is the most difficult to judge mainly because we have seen so little of him in claret and blue. His recent Covid issue probably robbed him of a start against Genk, but it’s certain he will get another chance to shine soon.

Certainly based on his form for the Czech Republic he will be a valuable asset to have waiting on the side line.

Four new boys – and all of them showing vary degrees of promise – but one thing is certain, David Moyes’ class of 2021 is certainly better for their presence.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon