Date: 23rd May 2019 at 2:35pm
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OPINION

Central midfield is certainly an area of the pitch where West Ham United could look to upgrade this summer. Captain Mark Noble won’t be around forever, after all.

The Englishman was one of the team’s better performers this season but, at 32 years of age, he cannot be expected to be that productive year on year.

That’s why a potential loan move for Marseille midfielder Kevin Strootman makes perfect sense for the Hammers. Sky Sports reported on Wednesday that Manuel Pellegrini’s side have been offered the 29-year-old on a temporary basis, as have Everton and Manchester United.

The 43-cap Dutch international would be an ideal recruit for the east London outfit and, if the club are impressed by him, they could always purchase him permanently in a year’s time.

He brings a nice mix of attributes that would improve the West Ham midfield. In fact, he is a bit of an amalgam of the best qualities of Noble and Declan Rice, the Hammers’ starting central midfielders this campaign.

He averaged 2.7 tackles per game this term [Source: Who Scored], a tally that puts him just short of Rice’s 2.9 [Source: Who Scored], but way ahead of Noble’s 1.5 [Source: Who Scored].

From an offensive point of view, the Dutchman registered 0.9 key passes per game and 0.4 dribbles per game last time out. Rice offered up 0.3 passes and 0.8 dribbles. Noble meanwhile had 0.7 of the former and 0.5 of the latter.

So, you see, the former Roma man seems to fit in a sort of happy medium within all the qualities that made Rice and Noble successful this season. He offers less than Rice defensively but more than him offensively and in possession, whereas he beats Noble out as a defensive midfielder.

Really, he’d be the ideal man to come in and compete with the West Ham duo for a starting spot in central midfield. Indeed, Pellegrini could even go for a three man midfield featuring all of them if he so desired.

Either way, this is a potential deal that the Hammers won’t want to miss out on. In fact, it could turn out to be a masterstroke by director of football Mario Husillos.