The 2019/20 Premier League season has been a difficult one for West Ham United. Sat 16th in the table and with short odds on https://silentbet.com/ to go down with only a goal difference advantage over the bottom three, neither Manuel Pellegrini nor David Moyes have been able to get the best out of this talented squad.
With Sebastien Haller, Pablo Fornals, Declan Rice, Isa Diop, Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini, the Hammers have plenty of quality at their disposal, but they remain blunt in attack and porous at the back. Having scored 35 goals and conceded 50 from the 29 Premier League fixtures West Ham have underperformed at both ends of the pitch, but defensive reinforcements must be the priority this summer.
Firstly, with Winston Reid and Pablo Zabaleta likely to depart, they are going to be short at the back. A back four of Ryan Fredericks, Diop, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell has been used regularly, but beyond this group they have had to rely on youngsters, as well as the out of favour Arthur Masuaku and Fabian Balbuena.
Further forward, the failures are more about coaching and a lack of coherence. The group is undoubtedly talented, but for whatever reason is has not yet clicked. This is not the case at the back though and additions are needed.
At 23, Diop is still young and has shown the potential to become a figure around which the rest of the defence is built. However, Ogbonna and Cresswell are now in their 30s and Fredericks has failed to deliver the form that saw him earn a move to the Premier League in the first place. Jeremy Ngakia has emerged as an option, but at 18, he is too young to become a regular.
Overall, there is a clear lack of youth, quality and depth in defence at West Ham and this needs resolving soon. Whether there is money to spend remains to be seen, but there should be no mistakes about where the priorities should be.