However, an all-action central midfielder who can do a bit of everything is certainly one of them. Declan Rice is obviously firmly entrenched as the team’s most defensive midfielder, but the future of Pedro Obiang is uncertain, Mark Noble is getting on a bit and Jack Wilshere cannot be relied upon to stay fit.
The answer could have been Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Charles Aranguiz, who Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini admitted he once tried to bring to the London Stadium.
“I will not talk about conversations, but I can tell you that I would have loved to have many Chilean players who have been figures worldwide,” he said, as per the Daily Star. “In the past I took several: Salas, Rojas, Matías Fernández, Iturra, Moras; I have taken 7 or 8 Chilean players. I tried to take Aránguiz to West Ham, but he did not want to.”
The gutting thing for the West Ham supporters is that Aranguiz would actually be a perfect addition to Pellegrini’s team. He has the ideal combination of assets that would make him successful alongside Rice in the centre of midfield.
As per WhoScored, the 74-cap Chile international averaged more key passes per game, average passes per game and pass success rate than Messrs Rice, Noble and Obiang. He also bagged more assists and attempted more crosses.
Interestingly, he compares pretty favourably to Noble and Obiang in his defensive statistics, as well (Rice is miles ahead of all three).
Aranguiz averaged more tackles, interceptions and clearances than Noble and Obiang. Furthermore, he attempts more shots per game than any of the Hammers trio and is fouled the most of all four.
At 30 Aranguiz would have only presented a short term solution for West Ham, but what a solution he would have been. He is a quality operator and the epitome of an all-round midfielder.
Unfortunately, it seems, he won’t be joining the east London outfit any time soon. The Leverkusen man had his chance and he didn’t take it – its a huge shame.