With West Ham sitting at the bottom of the pile, albeit on goal difference, and David Gold and David Sullivan showing unerring confidence in the man they placed in charge over the summer, one question remains prevalent; how are West Ham going to turn their season around? One possibility lies in the January transfer window.
After the speculations in Monday’s papers, it seems Grant’s major task in the new year is to keep hold of midfield talisman, and general driving force behind everything West Ham do, Scott Parker. With fresh bids reportedly coming in from Spurs and Liverpool, Grant must hold on to his prize asset, not only for the sake of the team, but for the sake of his job. If Parker goes, disaffected and disillusioned West Ham fans will certainly make their feelings known, and if it is a choice between Grant or Parker going, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would back the Israeli, bar the David’s that is.
So a big part of Grant’s challenge over January will be, as it was over the summer, retaining the spine of the team. Although West Ham sit bottom of the table, to disrupt the side too much would be disastrous, so Grant must find a balance between bringing in new blood to reinvigorate the side, and not upsetting the balance of the side that is already in place.
A big part of this will be not allowing Matthew Upson to go. Although perhaps the club will be looking to get some money for the 31 year-old centre-back as his contract is up in the summer of 2011, it would perhaps be more prudent to try and retain the bulk of the defence, as I think, man for man, West Ham don’t have a bad backline, it is in the team’s defensive displays that problems occur.
I think where Grant should splash out, or bring in loan signings, is in the midfield and upfront. What was painfully evident against Sunderland is a total lack of imagination going forward, and there could definitely be some jettisoning of dead wood from these areas, being replaced with players who show appetite and have a willingness to work for the team and earn their place.
So while I think Grant should air caution when disturbing the back, he pretty much has a blank canvas to work with going forward, and should look to bring a more creative element into the team, whilst bolstering the midfield with loan cover for injured players.