January shopping – a look at what we need

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CarvalhoBy Tommy Langton

While it might seem a tad bit early for talk of the transfer window, it’s all we can do to keep us sane in this start we’ve had to the season.

BetStars have us at 11/2 for the drop, and  it’s clear that we’re going to need to do some shopping in January. So, whom do we get — or more importantly — whom do we get rid of?

Some pf our squad simply aren’t good enough. Ayew is one such player, and although he’s a trier, his goal return just isn’t enough. Spending over £20million on a player who’s supposed to get you goals, but then doesn’t, should be a good enough indication. We like him, but he needs to go.

And joining Ayew on the way out the door should be Fonte. He was supposed to bring an air of solidity to our backline which didn’t happen before his injury..

So, with those two out the door, whom do we let in? Well, before you go replacing Ayew and Fonte with like-for-like players, we should point out that we need a little more than a striker and a centre-back. We could do with some more steel and creativity in midfield.

There have been whispers of a move for Jack Wilshire, but look how his spell at Bournemouth went. We struggle to see how he could fit into the starting eleven, unless he has somehow improved tenfold in the last few months. But if he did, then surely he’d be getting more than a game or two at Arsenal. Nope, forget him.

Should we go back in for Carvalho? Absolutely. Since our failed attempt to bring him in during the summer, the midfielder has put in some man-of-the-match performances at Sporting. Unperturbed by his failed move, he knuckled down and was named team captain. The guy obviously has a great attitude, and he’d bring some steel and leadership into our midfield.

At centre-back we have two options, both coming from Ligue 1. Nantes Brazilian centre-back Diego Carlos has been his team’s standout performer so far this season and shows an uncanny ability to adapt to a variety of formations. He’s mobile, a born leader, and he’s Brazilian.

Our other option is Ramy Bensebaini, who plays at Rennes. Another versatile player, the Algerian can play at full-back, centre-back, and midfield, if required. But he’s not just a Jack-of-all-trades. He’s really good, and a player of such quality who can cover so many positions is not to be dismissed out of hand.

Up front is a tough one, as with the attacking players we have right now, we should be a force to be reckoned with. We’re not sure quite what’s going wrong, but with Carroll watching from the stands, we might see a different approach from the manager. Who knows?

Whatever happens over the next two months, it’s clear that we need more investment in this team. However, we don’t need the knee-jerk transfer signings of a team in a poor run of form. We need clever signings that bring more than a name to the club, and hopefully, we’ll get them.

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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


  • sidthehammer says:

    Never too early to plan, I am so angry at the moment so perhaps not rational, but I would seek a new manager, who must insist that 1st January Ayew and Arnie are shown the door either as knock down sales or loan, our two record signings who simply do not deserve to be playing for WHU.
    Replace them with two prepared to work for the shirt, even from the championship, we should not Kidd ourselves, relegation is highly possible., there is something fundamentally wrong within our club.

  • Hammerkip says:

    Like the last 2 windows the say they will spend ..but they won’t ….our club is in a terrible state right from top to bottom …I wish a wealthy Arab would buy us and invest serious money ..until then it will be car crash after car crash …lost all confidence in all at the club ..Sad sad times

  • claret says:

    I agree with most of these comments but the owners are also culpable for arguing over the price for carvello that debacle has proved there is no way the owners have the will or money to move the club up a level. I am glad I did not renew my season ticket one year of watching the dross served up was bad enough.

  • master says:

    Irony is that Carvalho would, from what i’ve seen of him over the last 3 months, have been too slow for this league. Which is typical of Bilic, he rarely sees value in pace. I personally think we’ve swerved another massive outlay mistake, similar to Ayew. I won’t yet tarnish Arnie with the same conslusion yet. With a better coaching team he may still be a good player for us.

    Frankly, i feared the above would happen after yesterday’s result. The players are getting sounded out one by one and i genuinely don’t think the issue is with them. They haven’t been coached or instructed properly for months on end now. Put someone even moderately competent in charge with a decent backroom staff set up and they’ll be purring like they ought to be.

  • Dunlopilo says:

    There needs to be a game plan, a system of play that we don’t seem to have. Every week the players are set up differently (antonio, Chicharito, Ayew), then played out of their best position, then sidelined (Rice), then ignored (Sakho, Martinez, Ogbonna, Adrian), then they don’t stand up to expectations (Lanzini, Kouyate, Fonte), or look broken (Cresswell, Reid, Noble). Clearly, the team is lifeless and the players don’t have a clear idea of what their mission is on the pitch, or at least how to accomplish their mission. That is also why we concede so many goals and why our opponents look overpowered when they play against us.

    As far as reinforcements, I would suggest Dendoncker. Still young but will become a powerhouse. Terrorised Manure in Euro cup last season. Goalkeeper I mentioned Mile Svilar several months ago but he now is at Benfica, and even if he made an enormous mistake against the same Manure three dos ago, he will become top soon. Llorente is another I would love to see playing for West Ham. Very dynamic, very generous in his efforts. But there are a lot of “unknown” players who, if coached right, can give results. See at Watford, see at huddersfield…

  • cas_blue says:

    As I have said before, I think this is the strongest squad we have ever had. I don’t think we need lots of additions.
    I think Bilic has turned a group of talented individuals into ordinary ones who’s confidence has completely gone because they are playing out of position.
    I also think we have some great youth players who should be on the fringe of breaking through. Martinez for example should be in the first team squad.

    • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

      I agree with you Cas it’s not the playing staff that are the problem, by all means we could add another striker to replace Sakho or Carroll and a defensive midfielder but we have plenty of quality in all positions, the obvious thing is as many have mentioned we don’t have a system with the ball and we don’t have one without the ball. If the club want to be revolutionary they could hire two managers one to provide an offensive strategy and one a defensive strategy. 99% if managers seem to fall into one bracket or the other, Ferguson when he managed understood it is not just about offence even though all his players first instinct seemed to be attack, they were also mostly very good defensively, Guardiola is similar he often spends more time praising what his team did without the ball despite them being breathtaking in attack. Most of us want to see attacking football as do most fans but when we lose the ball it seems we have no plan to defend or desire to rush back into a defensive shape, likewise when we win the ball there is not a smooth transition into attack or a shape that can produce chances which is why we see the ball lumped long and often returning to the opposition after one or two chances. If the chairmen refuse to act now they are putting the future of the club in the lap of the gods, we will see more of these performances because we have seen enough of Bilic to know that this is standard for him.

  • jimbo says:

    Start with a manager who comes with a game plan and work backwards from there. I cannot believe I’ve awoken this morning to find Bilic is still our manager. Lack of suitable candidates or not, every day he stays is a day lost so we should have bitten the bullet, made the decision and let Westley take the first team until a replacement is found.

    • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

      Same Jimbo looks weak doesn’t it, I don’t want us to be like Leicester but I can’t see how we will avoid struggling the rest of this season under the current regime.

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