Having two young players excelling out on loan can never be considered a bad thing, but when they both play in roughly the same position it can be problematic.
That’s the case at West Ham United right now, where two young midfielders are tearing it up – in very different ways – away from the London Stadium.
Josh Cullen has been performing extremely well at Charlton Athletic, both last year in League One and this campaign up in the Championship. Meanwhile, over in the Swedish top flight, Sead Haksabanovic is in fine form for IFK Norrkoping.
Indeed, reliable Hammers news source Claret & Hugh reported on Thursday that the Irons power brokers are keeping a close eye on the latter, especially considering how well he has done in recent weeks.
The 20-year-old has bagged five goals and six assists in his last nine games [Source: Transfermarkt], impressing Manuel Pellegrini and co. The report even states that he could be set for a surprise early return to east London if he keeps up this level of form.
Cullen is a slightly different player, of course, more defensive-minded. However, it seems hugely unlikely that both these young midfielders will be kept at the club moving forward. With Haksabanovic having caught Pellegrini’s eye, Cullen could well find himself the unlucky victim of his fellow Hammers’ success.
But the Republic of Ireland international is doing very well himself. As per WhoScored.com, he is averaging 1.4 key passes per game, while he is making 46.2 passes per outing on average with a success rate of 82.5%.
Defensively he does well, too. The 23-year-old is averaging 1.7 tackles, one interception, 1.5 clearances and 0.5 blocks per game. He is an all-round midfielder, whereas Haksabanovic is perhaps more creative-minded.
But Cullen’s contract is up at the end of the season regardless [Source: Spotrac], and so the time is coming for a decision on him either way. But the emergence of Haksabanovic could see him edged out of the London Stadium exit door.