West Ham supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side let slip a two-goal lead to only draw 2-2 with the Premier League’s bottom club Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic’s men went into their clash with the Eagles off the back of beating Tottenham 3-2 in a thrilling Carabao Cup fourth round encounter at Wembley, and they looked on course for back-to-back successes when Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew gave them a two-goal cushion at Selhurst Park. However, it wasn’t to be for the Hammers as Luka Milivojevic and Wilfried Zaha netted in the second half to secure a deserved point for Roy Hodgson’s side, although the point didn’t move them off the bottom of the Premier League table.
Thus, there has been a despondent mood among our resident West Ham fans this week, with many wondering what the future holds for manager Bilic as another Premier League game went by without a victory.
And many are already pinning their hopes on January and the reopening of the transfer window, and one man they are reportedly keeping tabs on ahead of a possible move in the New Year is Galatasaray midfielder Papa Badou Ndiaye.
The 27-year-old linked up with the Turkish giants over the summer after impressing during a two-year stint at Super Lig rivals Osmanlispor, where he scored 18 goals in just 75 games to help them to a fifth place finish back in 2016, and then a 13th place finish last term.
And although the Senegal international hasn’t quite hit the heights at Galatasaray, several Premier League clubs including West Ham and Newcastle United are reportedly monitoring his progress ahead of a possible move in January.
And it’s a deal the Hammers must seek to get done, as landing Ndiaye could be exactly what Manuel Lanzini needs to rediscover his best form.
The 24-year-old has been one of West Ham’s best players in recent seasons and appears to have usurped the role vacated by Dimitri Payet as the club’s star man, with eight goals and two assists in 35 Premier League games last term a solid return for the Argentine.
Yet he hasn’t quite got going this season with no contributions in five Premier League games, although three chances created against Palace on Saturday is indicative of a player slowly but surely getting back to form.
And landing Ndiaye may help him achieve that as the 24-year-old would then be afforded the freedom in the number ten role to really orchestrate things for the Hammers, as the former would be able to provide the necessary dynamism and defensive savvy just behind him in a midfield two.
Ndiaye spent much of his time at Osmanlispor playing slightly further forward, but in five of Galatasaray’s seven league wins so far this term, the 27-year-old has played in the midfield two in front of the back four.
And that must be music to the ears of Lanzini as that is arguably the one area in which West Ham are lacking depth this season, with Cheikhou Kouyate more convincing as a centre-back than a central midfielder, while Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang have both had injury issues at times this year.
More protection in front of the back four, or a back three if Bilic so chooses like on Saturday, means less defensive responsibilities on Lanzini’s shoulders, and more freedom for him to go and make a difference in the final third instead.
That’s where West Ham fans want to see him, that’s where Bilic wants to see him, and that’s where Lanzini will undoubtedly want to be.
So landing Ndiaye, a combative and industrious midfielder, could be exactly what the Hammers need in the second half of the season, both to bolster their options, but also to free the technically-gifted Lanzini.
West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!