West Ham are on the up after securing top spot in their Europa League group and continuing that winning run at the weekend with a convincing 3-0 victory at home over Wolves in the league to consolidate their position in and around the European qualification places. But there is no rest for the weary as the games will be coming thick and fast over the course of the festive period. With the small matter of an EFL Cup quarter final against Liverpool coming up along with two more Premier League fixtures before the turn of the new year, the squad will be stretched to its limits over the coming days. The Irons have been managing the added midweek workload well so far this season but should the new year bring similar levels of success then David Moyes will be keen to bolster his ranks this January in readiness for what 2024 brings. Here’s our look at West Ham’s potential plans for the January transfer window.
The first priority will undoubtedly be bringing a striker in. The Hammers haven’t exactly been short of goals this year with their tally of 29 making Moyes’ squad the eighth most potent attack in the league. However, the vast majority of those goals have come from midfield with Jarrod Bowen topping the scoring charts with his tally of 11 and Mohammed Kudus just behind on nine. In fact, Tomas Soucek, James Ward-Prowse and Lucas Paqueta all rank higher than any of West Ham’s striking options on the goalscoring charts. Michail Antonio is next with only two strikes to his name in 14 appearances this season and Danny Ings has barely made an appearance. The news doesn’t get any better from there though as the club’s record goalscorer has recently been dealing with a knee injury that will keep him out for the festive fixtures at the very least. Simply put if the East London club are serious about their aspirations to retain European football for a fourth consecutive season then they will need to add another attacking option to the squad this window. Bookies with fast payout options have West Ham as rank outsiders to finish in the top six this season, but with a good window in January, those odds could shorten. As for who that could, various reports suggest Moyes is keen on Akor Adams from Ligue 1 outfit Montpellier. The Nigerian has certainly impressed after arriving at the French club this summer with seven goals from his 16 appearances to date. Similarly impressive is how well he has adjusted to the intensity of one of Europe’s top five leagues having played his football in Norway up until this point. A move only a few months after having joined up with Michel Der Zakarian’s side would be an incredible coup for the Hammers but perhaps the lure of Premier League football will be enough to get a deal across the line.
Elsewhere on the pitch, another pressing matter that will be troubling the Scot in the first half of the season would’ve been his side’s defensive record. The club has only recorded two clean sheets in their 17 Premier League matches this term and their tally of 30 goals conceded is the joint-third worst record in the league. That needs to change if Moyes’ squad of players are to remain in the conversation for those coveted European places. Thankfully for West Ham fans the rumour mill suggests that the club are looking at multiple options in that department this winter. Bringing in a left-back appears to be the top priority at the back given the level of interest registered in Emerson Palmieri after some sensational performances from the Italian international so far this season. The 29-year-old is unlikely to leave in January but should a big enough bid come in the summer then the club could be left short of options with Aaron Cresswell seemingly destined for an exit elsewhere. Among the reported targets is Chelsea prospect Ian Maatsen. With blistering pace, a good tackle and a fantastic engine on him the youngster possesses all the qualities required from a modern day full-back and would be more than suitable cover for Palmieri as well as a significant upgrade on Cresswell. The 21-year-old is currently valued at £20 million which would be a steal given the current state of the market and after having fallen out of favour with the Blues behind-the-scenes the door has been neatly opened for Moyes to swoop in and provide the Dutchman with the game time which is sorely lacking at the Bridge. Maatsen is not the only defender on the radar this January though as Stuttgart centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou is also of interest to the Hammers. The former Borussia Dortmund backstop has been in excellent form in the Bundesliga this season, helping to provide solidity at the back that has been the platform for the German outfit’s push for a Champions League berth. He is an integral part of the fourth strongest defence in Germany’s top flight and has been on West Ham’s radar for quite some time as a result. Signing the Frenchman to a deal that brings him to the London stadium will be tricky though with Champions League football on the horizon at his current club and several of Europe’s big guns also in the hunt to sign the 24-year-old.
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