With next season on the horizon, David Moyes and West Ham have a lot of decisions to make. At the time of writing, there’s still little bit of work to do to preserve their status as a Premier League side, but what does the club need to do to ensure it’s not another relegation dogfight next year?
Keep Declan Rice
First and foremost, keep your best player. There’s been talk all season about Declan Rice leaving West Ham to go back to the club he left to join the Hammers, Chelsea. He’s odds on with the bookies to make the switch to West London at around 4/6, but David Moyes will no doubt try his very best to keep hold of him for one more season. His best might not be good enough, though, as even teammates are suggesting that he’d be a better player by moving on.
If you’re convinced the England international will leave and fancy backing him to move to Stamford Bridge, the current price might not be around for too long as rumours heat up. It’s good to know that placing football bets with PayPal is becoming somewhat of a trend – and for a number of reasons. Payouts are a lot quicker than the usual debit card. Also, if you play Sunday league football yourself, which a lot of fans do, you can help out your team! The FA have a matchday app where you can use PayPal to collect match fees and save time.
Left-back Aaron Cresswell hinted recently that Rice would improve if he moved on:
“He’s close to 100 Premier League games already, and I’m not just saying that because he’s a West Ham player and a good mate of mine, but I really do believe he’s one of the top talents in the country.
“I wouldn’t like to see him leave, but if he were to ever leave, he would become another level with better players around him.”
As we digress and get back to West Ham’s predicament – what are the next steps and what do they do next season?
Forget European Football
It’s been an awful 12 months for everyone associated with the Hammers. The 2019/20 season has not panned out the way they expected after such a great start to the campaign. Unfortunately, Fabianski’s early season injury meant Roberto was introduced. We all know how that ended.
On that basis, forget European football next season. Don’t heap that kind of pressure onto the side. If West Ham happen to have a great first half of the season, it’s something that could be talked about in the new year. But not before. Staying well clear of the drop zone needs to be the initial aim next season.
Build a Better Team
The Hammers have tried to spend big and it hasn’t worked. Felipe Anderson and Sebastian Haller are two examples of expensive players that just haven’t shown their worth yet. With that in mind, it might be time to turn to the kids. That shouldn’t be a daunting thought for a side that arguably had the best academy in the 90s and early 2000s. They don’t call it the Academy of Football for nothing.
Here’s three names for you – Grady Diangana, Josh Cullen, and Ben Johnson. Diangana is setting the Championship alight this season. Fans are raving about him. At 22, he seems mature enough to carry the pressure on his shoulders going forward. David Moyes has been keeping a close eye on his exploits at West Brom and hasn’t gone unnoticed by other teams either. West Ham may even find it difficult to hold onto him in the summer. West Brom might want to keep him if they go up but we’ll see.
Josh Cullen’s been battling at the wrong end of the Championship table with Charlton, but manager Lee Bowyer has sung his praises week after week. However, at the moment, it’s tough to see where he’d fit in with Soucek playing so well and Jack Wilshere returning from injury. He needs to be given a chance, though.
Ben Johnson is the other one. A fantastic prospect who can play at left-back or right-back. A lot of fans aren’t convinced with either Aaron Cresswell or Ryan Fredericks, so Ben Johnson may have a great opportunity next season to make a full back position his own. If Moyes gives him that chance of course.
All three players mentioned would improve the squad. It does look as though Moyes has youngsters on his mind when planning for the future, which is great to see. There’s no need to spend £45m on a player when there’s a great youngster waiting in the wings for his chance.
It remains to be seen exactly how the next transfer window will pan out, and how many youngsters will be given a chance. What we do know is that the fans do not want another repeat of this season. It’s not good for the stress levels. Mid-table and safe with a month or two left of the season would be great. It’s not asking for too much.
Let us know in the comments what you think, but do you agree West Ham need to introduce some youth products into the side?