West Ham must sign a utility player before the end of the transfer window to avoid a “disaster”, according to Football.London journalist Sam Inkersole.
“Carlos Sanchez is already at the club but in pre-season, and coming off a long spell out injured, doesn’t offer a confident solution should Rice go down.
“A utility player is needed, someone who can play in midfield and possibly defence as well, to give the Hammers fans a little bit of reassurance should the inevitable injury issues start to rear their ugly heads.”
It’s hard to disagree with Inkersole on this one. The Hammers have bought well this summer, and their two main additions should go a long way towards solving some longstanding issues in their side. That being said, Manuel Pellegrini’s squad is still looking flimsy in certain areas, and as Inkersole rightly points out, nowhere more so than in the engine room. With Mark Noble getting on a bit now, and with Pedro Obiang going to Italy, Declan Rice really is key to the Irons’ hopes this coming season, and losing him would be a hammer blow. The 20-year-old completed 2.9 tackles on average per game last season, as well as registering a pass rate of 86.9% [Whoscored]. He may be young, but there are few players in the league as good as him when it comes to breaking down attacks and keeping play ticking over for his team. Finding somebody on his level at a decent price would be a very difficult task, but finding somebody who can, at least, fill in if the worst comes to the worst and he picks up a knock looks like a necessity.