West Ham have had a rather mixed opening to the campaign with a lack of consistency characterising their early season form.
Manuel Pellegrini’s start to life at the London Stadium has not gone as swimmingly as would have hoped for, but the club have been moving in the right direction since the last international break despite suffering a 1-0 defeat away at Brighton on Friday evening.
The result has left them in 15th place after 8 fixtures with only 8 goals to their name and, whilst it’s fair to say their over-reliance on Marko Arnautovic has been reduced by the likes of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko, they are still missing the creative spark of Manuel Lanzini in midfield.
When fit, the Argentinian playmaker is central to everything positive the Hammers do in the final-third and his absence is proving detrimental to the extent of their spark.
Moments of incisive magic are common place when Lanzini is in full flow and with Jack Wilshere also sidelined through injury Pellegrini is missing a creative hub in the centre of midfield.
Lanzini is expected to be sidelined for the vast majority, if not the whole season, so Pellegrini should be open to the prospect of signing a new number ten in January.
With that being said, he should be monitoring the form of Bradley Dack at Blackburn following his impressive opening to life in the Championship.
The 24-year-old attacker played an instrumental role in Blackburn’s promotion bid last season and he has made a seamless transition to the second-tier by scoring 7 goals and providing 5 assists from just 9 appearances in all-competitions this season – a record which illuminates his clinical instinct.
Reasonable sceptics could point towards the fact he is plying his trade in the Championship as justification to question his credentials, but James Maddison’s form since joining Leicester in the summer proves that it’s possible to thrive after making the step up to the top-flight.
A series of impressive performances recently earned Maddison a deserved England call-up, and if Dack was given the chance to showcase his quality in the top-flight then he could find himself on a similar path to Maddison in the coming years.
An elusive talent by nature who naturally floats into space between the lines of midfield and attack, Dack is the type of player which Pellegrini is missing in Lanzini’s absence, but a January deal would solve that problem and hand the club a huge talent for the future.
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