West Ham Midfield Muddle

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West Ham United‘s midfield faces a period of uncertainty as the club prepares for a new era under incoming manager Julen Lopetegui. A key issue demanding Lopetegui’s immediate attention is the lack of a reliable backup for defensive midfielder Edson Alvarez.

Lopetegui inherits a midfield situation where both Tomas Soucek and James Ward-Prowse are considered more effective in attacking roles. This leaves a significant gap to be filled by a new defensive midfielder, unless Lopetegui opts to reintegrate Flynn Downes into the squad.

One potential solution, albeit an unlikely one, lies with midfielder Andy Irving. Signed by David Moyes last summer and immediately loaned back to his former club SK Austria Klagenfurt, Irving enjoyed a successful season in Austria and is set to return to West Ham.

However, Irving’s future at the London Stadium remains shrouded in doubt. Recent comments by the player himself hint at his own uncertainty, suggesting a lack of clarity about his role under Lopetegui. While Austrian reports claimed Irving would be a definite member of the West Ham squad next season, this now seems far from certain.

The gulf in quality and intensity between the Austrian Bundesliga and the Premier League is a significant concern. Does Irving have the ability to impress Lopetegui and secure a long-term future at West Ham.

With Lopetegui prioritising a new defensive midfielder signing, Irving’s chances of first-team football appear slim. The upcoming transfer window will be crucial for West Ham as they seek to address this critical gap in their midfield and provide much-needed cover for Edson Alvarez. Whether Irving remains part of the picture or is shipped out remains to be seen.

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