The reliable Hammers news source claims that it’s a possibility that the 23-year-old may be offered a new deal by manager Manuel Pellegrini, with his current contract set to expire at the end of the season.
Claret & Hugh’s report poses the question of whether Cullen could replace Sanchez, on a reported £50,000-per-week [Source: Spotrac], as the team’s second defensive midfielder behind Declan Rice.
There’s no doubt that Cullen has shown signs of real progress in his second season at The Valley. It’s been good to see that he’s been able to handle the step up to a very competitive second tier. The statistics support that statement, as well. As per WhoScored.com, the youngster is currently averaging 1.9 tackles per game, as well as 0.8 interceptions, 1.4 clearances and 0.6 blocks. Despite not being a naturally attack-minded midfielder – more of an all-rounder – Cullen is still averaging one key pass an outing and is being fouled on an average of 2.6 times per game. His WhoScored rating per game as an orthodox central midfielder is 6.76 this campaign. However, when he’s shifted back to a purely defensive-minded midfield role, that rating skyrockets up to 7.36. Perhaps, then, he does have the defensive chops to replace the 33-year-old behind Rice moving forward. You need that depth behind a quality player like Rice, and Cullen could potentially provide it.