That’s the situation facing young Hammers midfielder Josh Cullen at the moment, and his battle to make it with his hometown club may soon turn out to be one he can’t win.
His chances of being a success at the London Stadium certainly took a hit on Wednesday when the club confirmed on its official website that he had completed a season-long loan to Championship side Charlton Athletic.
The 23-year-old can be recalled in January, it’s true, but the fact that the Irons have decided to loan him out again, despite his terrific campaign with the Addicks last time out, says a lot about where he stands in east London.
The problem for Cullen is that, as per Spotrac, his contract with West Ham runs out next summer. While this loan move wasn’t an actual sale, it was essentially as good as one; certainly it was a tacit acknowledgement from the club that his time with them may be up.
That’s a shame for the young man, because he’s a decent player. However, to be fair, he was given the opportunity to work his way into manager Manuel Pellegrini’s plans this pre season and he clearly failed to take it.
His performances weren’t great, there’s no getting around that. Out in China at the Premier League Asia Trophy, he looked very much out of his depth.
Now, with a season long loan pencilled in for the final campaign of his Hammers contact, it seems that Cullen is staring an exit from the club in 12 month’s time directly in the face.