Premier League

Opinion: Moyes’ summer plan for West Ham is risky business

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West Ham’s Premier League survival may still be hanging in the balance with just a three-point gap to the drop, but David Moyes is already reportedly planning a summer clear-out. It has been suggested that the Scot wants rid of numerous players, including Aaron Cresswell, Arthur Masuaku, Ryan Fredericks, Albian Ajeti and Jordan Hugill, whom he signed during his last stint at the helm.

Some of the names on Moyes’ list may not come as a surprise, given Ajeti is yet to make a Premier League start and Hugill has spent time away on loan at both Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers. However, the Irons boss’ plans to move on Masuaku, Cresswell and Fredericks could be a dangerous game, given the trio are the only remaining full-backs in the West Ham squad.

Jeremy Ngakia and Pablo Zabaleta departed at the beginning of the month when their contracts expired, leaving Moyes with no room for rotation at right-back. Meanwhile, the Hammers have been linked with a move for Barcelona defender, Emerson, but there is stiff competition for his signature as Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton are all reportedly interested in the Brazilian.

Moyes must exercise some caution if he is to move several wing-backs on in the same summer, only doing so if he has replacements already lined up to join the club. It would be an embarrassing situation, that would lead to the Hammers being defensively exposed if Fredericks, Masuaku and Cresswell departed, and any potential incoming players pulled a ‘Gedson Fernandes’ by swerving West Ham to join a rival.

On the left side of defence American international Antonee Robinson of Wigan appears to be a target. Still, given he has no Premier League experience, it would be brave to plunge the youngster into the starting eleven. Furthermore, Cresswell especially has performed admirably this term, providing three goals that have helped earn this side seal victories over Manchester United and Chelsea, so it is hard to understand why Moyes would be keen to see the back of the defender.

Most West Ham fans would likely be pleased to see Moyes freshen up the squad at full-back given it is one of the few areas of the pitch that has not seen substantial investment in recent seasons. Fredericks was a shrewd piece of business on a free transfer, Masuaku cost just £6m, and Cresswell has been well worth the £4.2m fee paid to Ipswich Town five years ago.

There is nothing wrong with prioritising areas of the West Ham side that need improving. Nevertheless, Moyes must secure his transfer targets before moving on any players who aren’t in his plans, otherwise this squad could be in a worse position when the transfer window slams shut than when it opened.

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