West Ham supporters in the Transfer Tavern have used the last few weeks to take a look back on their team’s Premier League campaign so far, and indeed look ahead to what might be in store for their club between now and the end of the season.
The Hammers began the 2017/18 term with high hopes after securing a 12th place finish in the Premier League last time out, with the additions of Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic over the summer adding to that sense of optimism. Yet manager Slaven Bilic lost his job in November after seeing his team fall into the relegation zone, but David Moyes has since breathed new life into the club and although they aren’t safe from the drop, their prospects are a lot brighter now than when the Scot took over four months ago.
Thus, several Hammers fans are reasonably confident of their side’s chances of remaining in the top-flight this term, although they are well aware that their team must continue to perform in the final ten games to preserve their top tier status.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident West Ham supporters to get their teeth into, not least the news that defender Jose Fonte has completed a move to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.
Yet the East London outfit must forget about the 34-year-old centre-back, and instead focus all their efforts on replacing him with Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson in the summer.
And that’s because the young Englishman clearly has a very bright future in the game, following a year in which he has made the centre-back spot his own in the Swans first team.
This time last year, the 24-year-old was slowly but surely making a name for himself in the heart of Paul Clement’s backline, netting four goals post-January to help the South Wales outfit preserve their Premier League status.
And the centre-back has continued to underline his credentials at this level with starts in all of Swansea’s Premier League games so far, playing a key part in their incredible resurgence under new boss Carlos Carvalhal.
And that sort of leadership and authority, as well as long-term planning, is exactly what the Hammers need in their backline in the coming years.
James Collins is 34 years of age, Pablo Zabaleta is 33, and Angelo Ogbonna will be 30 come May – it’s clearly an experienced backline, but the Hammers must start thinking about the future.
And given their side’s tally of 47 goals against in their 27 Premier League games this term, only three other sides have conceded more, experience isn’t really working for the East London club, yet there’s little doubt that Mawson would significantly improve that backline.
Be it aerially in his own box defending crosses and set-plays, or coming up with key goals at the other end, the 24-year-old has been a hugely influential figure in the Swansea defence to underline his Premier League credentials, and thus underline how beneficial he could be for West Ham as well.
And were Swansea to lose their top-flight status this summer, Mawson would almost certainly be a man in demand. Yet West Ham must seek to go after the £10.8 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) regardless of what league he is due to line up in come August.
West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!