West Ham being careful with Antonio could force hand in January

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Manuel Pellegrini has been forced to start again with his forward options at West Ham United this season.

With Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez leaving the club, the Chilean made the decision to sanction moves for both Sebastien Haller and Albian Ajeti in the summer.

Haller has been ever-present in East London, with Ajeti being forced into a role on the bench which has only seen him start games in the Carabao Cup.

With other options such as Michail Antonio and Xande Silva both struggling with injuries at the beginning of this campaign, journalist Sam Inkersole has claimed that the Hammers could target a new striker in the January transfer window.

“Michail Antonio would be an option to replace Haller but he is currently working his way back to fitness from hamstring surgery after an injury he picked up in late August,” he wrote on Football.London.

“There is hope he could return to game time before the end of the year but after a third hamstring injury in recent years, the Hammers are being careful with his recovery.”

Inkersole also delivered an update on the fitness of young forward Xande Silva, who was expected to have a role in the first-team squad this season.

“He is progressing well but there is no definite timescale on his comeback.”

Should Haller or Ajeti pick up an injury and be sidelined for an extended time, it would leave Pellegrini clutching at straws for options on the bench going forward.

Injuries picked up by Antonio and Silva could force West Ham’s hand in the winter market, and a fresh pair of legs going forward could be the difference for Pellegrini and his hopes of European qualification.

Inkersole is spot on with his claim that West Ham could target a new forward in January, with fitness concerns leaving the Hammers with few options in the final third.

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