West Ham supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been looking back at their side’s relatively disappointing season in the last few days, and indeed looking ahead to what could be in store for their team between now and the end of the campaign.
The Hammers went into the 2017/18 season full of confidence after a fine transfer window, which saw the East London outfit land the likes of Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic as they sought to build upon last term’s 11th place finish. Yet it hasn’t worked out for the club this term with Slaven Bilic sacked back in November, from which David Moyes has taken over and indeed steadied the ship, albeit they remain in the relegation dogfight with five games of the campaign still to play.
Regardless, a 3-0 win over Southampton and a draw at Chelsea has increased the confidence among our resident Hammers fans that their side will indeed avoid the drop, with many already planning for next season and who their team could seek to sign during the close season.
And one man many feel could reignite his Premier League career with a move to the London Stadium is Newcastle’s £9 million-rated outcast Mikel Merino (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, the 21-year-old has found gametime hard to come by under Rafa Benitez in the second half of the season, what with the likes of Mo Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, and Isaac Hayden keeping him out of the side.
The former two in particular have been hugely impressive in recent times, to the point that the Spaniard wasn’t even among the substitutes in their 2-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday, as he wasn’t a few weeks before in their narrow success over Huddersfield Town.
And with reports linking him with a move to Athletic Bilbao, Merino’s short time in the North East could be at an end come the summer, yet West Ham should seek to solve their own midfield problems with a move for the 21-year-old.
Ultimately, the Hammers’ central midfield ranks haven’t quite been at the level this season, with Cheikhou Kouyate often out of form and Pedro Obiang struggling with injury – Mark Noble has arguably been their best this term.
Yet given the amount of talent in the attacking third of the pitch, Moyes needs more resilience and better protection in the middle of the park to allow those front men to excel – Merino could be that man.
Yes, things haven’t quite worked for the 21-year-old since the turn of the year, but he earned a permanent move to Newcastle just a few months into his loan spell at St James’ Park such were his efforts in their midfield – he was outstanding in the early stages of the season.
And were he able to replicate that at West Ham, he’d go some way to solving their midfield issues ahead of the 2018/19 season.
And with his future at Newcastle far from certain, the 21-year-old should seek to reignite his Premier League career with a move to West Ham this summer.
West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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