When Manuel Pellegrini begins to assess the summer ahead at West Ham, much of his attention will be focused on shipping out the current players who he thinks do not cut it.
There are some obvious names on the squad list who must go this summer, the likes of Sam Byram, Edimilson Fernandes and Jordan Hugill come to mind, but there will likely be one or two unexpected exits on top of those.
According to a report from Senegalese outfit Galsen Foot, the Hammers are eyeing up a move for Stoke City ace Badou N’Diaye to replace Cheikhou Kouyate who is set to exit the London Stadium.
While there is no doubt that a move for N’Diaye would make sense for the club, with the Senegal international being a brilliant addition for Stoke despite their eventual relegation, the exit for Kouyate is the opposite.
The 28-year-old midfield destroyer has been a fantastic servant for the Hammers since his move from Anderlecht in 2014, and despite a recent dip in form, remains a key squad member for the club.
To let him leave now would be a big mistake from Pellegrini, who would be losing a 6ft 3in [Transfermarkt] central midfielder who he can base his team around.
Much like Fernandinho at City during his reign there, Kouyate offers boundless energy in midfield, a tenacious presence for opposition players to deal with, and could well be the lynchpin for Pellegrini success in east London.
He is well-loved at the London Stadium, having played 152 games for the Hammers, and to let someone go with that kind of club experience is another error.
The swoop for N’Diaye makes sense with Kouyate remaining at the club anyway, with the Hammers lacking any reliable midfield reinforcements behind him and Mark Noble.
Overall, this would be a terrible move for Pellegrini to kick off his West Ham tenure, and he must bin his plans to allow Kouyate to walk away from the London Stadium.