Mark Noble will have to scrap harder than ever before to maintain his first team place in what looks set to become a pivotal season in his Upton Park carer,
The arrival of Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet and with Chiek Kouyate now a fixture when fit, means Noble could become a bit part player.
Slaven Bilic is keen to add another attacking midfielder to the mix and with Alex Song, or a defensive midfielder like him coming in, Noble will be forced to become part of what looks set to become a regular rotation policy.
Like most, his form tailed off last season and he was hit by a series of injuries which hopefully he is over and from which there will be no cumulative effect.
A source told us: “The competition is getting more and more intense in that area of the pitch with the likes of Diego Poyet and Morgan Amalfitano available.
“Mark – like everybody else – will be need to be right on top of his game from the start of the campaign as the competiton in that area of the pitch is going to be terrific.”