West Ham United summer signing Nayef Aguerd is venturing ever closer to a return to fitness, and more specifically his competitive Hammers debut.
What’s the latest?
That is according to a report from Claret & Hugh, with David Moyes now offering clarity on when he expects the Moroccan to be in action.
Aguerd was injured in a pre-season friendly against Rangers in July, which has so far precluded him from featuring competitively for his new club.
However, after the defender tweeted photos of him in training on Monday saying that he’s “happy to be back on the pitch”, the Irons manager then said of the 26-year-old: “He’s started training, he’s not fully integrated yet. He’ll definitely play before the World Cup.”
Big boost for Moyes
With this news emerging ahead of West Ham’s clash against Liverpool tonight, David Moyes and co will be buzzing.
It goes without saying that the £30m asset will not feature against the Reds, but his return to training will certainly bring a behind-the-scenes boost to a Hammers side who have found some form as we venture towards the World Cup break in a month’s time.
As Aguerd becomes a fully fit choice at Moyes’ disposal, we may see the Irons transpose their possession-driven style which can be seen in the Europa Conference League to their Premier League outings. This is due to the confidence which comes with an astute ball-playing defender like the 26-year-old.
In simple terms, the Moroccan is essentially a newer model of Angelo Ogbonna, who is the only other naturally left-footed central defender at the club.
With Aguerd possessing huge confidence on the ball, his composure can be used to build sustained attacks from the back. His 89% passing success rate in Ligue 1 last season is markedly better than what any Irons centre-back has managed in the current Premier League campaign.
Natural-footed centre-backs are seen as an effective way to boost a team, allowing them to face opposition on their strongest side out of possession whilst also making an opportunity to play out to the opposite side flank much easier to execute, due to the use of natural positioning.
Aguerd’s return and consequential competitive debut could be crucial for the Hammers as they look to build on their positive run of form.