Friday, December 3, 2021

Where could David Moyes and West Ham be looking to strengthen in January?

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Heading into November’s international break with a stellar 3-2 win against Liverpool last weekend, West Ham have once again continued to shock many across the Premier League.

Skyrocketing their way up to third in the table and with just their goal difference keeping them behind defending champions Manchester City, the Hammers are in the midst of what has become by far their brightest spell since moving to the London Stadium.

Yet to taste defeat on their Europa League adventure so far this season, and already booking their spot in the knockout stage with time to spare, David Moyes has even seen some tip his side as a genuine title dark horse.

With it confirmed earlier in the week that Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky has taken a 27% stake in the high-flying Hammers, we have taken a look at where West Ham could be looking to strengthen when the January transfer window reopens.

Central defensive cover

While West Ham might have entered the international break with that remarkable 3-2 win against Liverpool last weekend, the east London outfit were left heartbroken in midweek by the news that one of their defensive stars has suffered what could be a season-ending knee injury.

Limping off in the first-half against Jurgen Klopp’s former champions, the Hammers announced on Tuesday morning that Angelo Ogbonna has sustained an ACL injury and no time scale has been given over a potential return for their 33-year-old veteran.

Still competing across four tournaments and with just three first-team central defenders to choose from, Moyes could be tempted to bring in central defensive cover in January.

With summer arrival Kurt Zouma really hitting the ground running since making the move from Chelsea, reports over the past few days have suggested that the former Manchester United boss could be looking at a host of former targets.

Along with long-term target James Tarkowski now being in the final few months of his current deal with Burnley, Italian outfit Calcio Mercato suggested on Tuesday that the Hammers are still keen on striking a potential deal for Serbian international Nikola Milenkovic.

The return of Jesse Lingard?

Heading into the international break with a woeful 2-0 loss against their noisy neighbours and in the midst of another nightmare under Ole Gunnar Solskaer, Jesse Lingard must be sat at Manchester United wondering why he didn’t make the decision to stay put in east London?

Failing to get any kind of look in at Old Trafford and once again becoming the forgotten man in the red half of Manchester, the 28-year-old was also dropped from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for November’s international fixtures.

Now entering the final few months of his current deal at the struggling Premier League giants, it has been suggested over the past fortnight that Lingard could have his sights set on completing a move back to West Ham when the January transfer window gets underway.

Mustering just a handful of top-flight minutes since making his return to Manchester United, Lingard’s return to the London Stadium would certainly be welcomed by both Moyes and Hammers’ fans.

Enjoying a remarkable revival when he joined West Ham on a loan deal during the second-half of last season’s campaign, Lingard racked up nine Premier League goals as he helped skyrocket Moyes’ side to a hugely impressive sixth-place finish.

Competition for Antonio

Although West Ham might have brought in the likes of Zouma, Alphonse Areola and Nikola Vlasic over the summer, there is no doubt that they will be desperate to recruit another striker in January.

While Michail Antonio might have impressed many as the one-time Nottingham Forest man has already racked up six Premier League goals so far this season, the 31-year-old does suffer from a host of well-documented hamstring issues.

With a stacked schedule this season and now featuring for Jamaica after accepting an international call up earlier in the year, it is extremely hard to see any way that Antonio will be able to lead the Hammers’ charge with them still firing in four tournaments.

With a new number nine likely to be at the top of Moyes’ wishlist in January, it has been reported that the east London side could have their sights set on bringing in yet another Czech Republic international to join their ranks.

Racking up 15 goals with Sparta Prague last season, 19-year-old Adam Hlozek has only continued to gain a string of admirers from across Europe over the past 18 months.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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