West Ham supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the new era at the London Stadium following the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini as the club’s new manager last month.
The 64-year-old replaces David Moyes in the Hammers hotseat after the Scot departed back in May at the expiration of his contract, this all despite leading the club to a 13th place finish in the Premier League. However, the club’s hierarchy decided against extending his stay in charge of the team, and instead drafted in former Manchester City chief Pellegrini, who of course led the Citizens to the Premier League title during his time in charge at the Etihad Stadium.
Subsequently, there are many excited and indeed expectant West Ham fans in the Tavern at present, several of whom are likely to be interested by recent reports linking their club with a move for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling.
And were the Hammers to indeed seal a deal for the £16.2 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt), Pellegrini would go some way to finally solving a glaring problem at the East London club.
Ultimately, West Ham were comfortably one of the worst sides defensively in the Premier League last season in shipping 68 goals in their 38 league matches, the joint-most alongside Stoke City in the division.
And while Moyes’ immediate arrival did somewhat stem the flow of goals hitting the back of the Hammers net, the fact they then struggled in the second half of the campaign underlines that it is the personnel that needs strengthening at the London Stadium, and that it’s a deep-lying issue Pellegrini must solve.
Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna are arguably the two best centre backs at the club, but neither entirely convinced last season, while the mid-season exit of Jose Fonte alongside James Collins’ departure this summer leaves the Hammers short of options in the heart of the backline.
Thus, defensive reinforcements are certainly needed, and United’s Smalling could well be the ideal addition.
Despite failing to make England’s 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup, the 28-year-old remains a hugely adept defender at Premier League level – one does not turn out 289 times for the Red Devils if one is not a good player.
And with 46 appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side last term, in a team that were one of the better sides defensively last season, the Englishman is clearly doing something right, although reports a few months ago suggested that Mourinho was seeking to get rid following a few below-par performances.
Nonetheless, with the Hammers in need of accomplished centre backs to help solidify their leaky backline, they could do a lot worse than Smalling, whose arrival may go some way to finally solving their obvious defensive woes.
West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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