This season has been a rough one thus far for West Ham United, and they haven’t been helped by their lack of depth in central midfield.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini made the decision to allow Pedro Obiang to depart for Sassuolo last summer, and while that was a compassionate decision to allow the player his desire to return to Italy, his failure to replace the Equatorial Guinea international is inexcusable.
The Hammers have been left bereft of options in the middle of the park beyond the tried-and-true partnership of Declan Rice and Mark Noble. However, that was disrupted last weekend when the captain went down with a serious-looking injury.
We don’t yet know the extent of the 32-year-old’s problem, but either way central midfield reinforcements are desperately needed in January. With that said, the east London outfit absolutely must reignite their reported summer hunt for AC Milan enforcer Franck Kessie.
The Daily Express reported a few months ago that the Irons were interested in signing the 22-year-old, and while that ultimately came to nothing, Pellegrini would be mad not to go in for the young Serie A star in the New Year.
The statistics show that this is a man who can do a bit of everything, certainly more than any West Ham midfielder not named Rice. As per WhoScored.com, Kessie is averaging more shots, key passes and successful dribbles per game than Hammers trio Rice, Noble and Jack Wilshere.
Defensively, too, he is rock solid, second only to Rice in average tackles, interceptions and clearances per outing. This is an extremely talented player who would come in and instantly reinforce a shallow area of the pitch for West Ham.
Pellegrini and director of football Mario Husillos must make Kessie a priority in January – he could be a game-changer.