West Ham supporters in the Transfer Tavern are relishing the remainder of the summer transfer window following the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini as the club’s new manager.
The Chilean replaces David Moyes in the London Stadium hotseat following the Scot’s departure at the expiration of his contract earlier this month, this all despite leading the club to Premier League safety. However, the Hammers hierarchy opted against extending his stay in East London, with former Manchester City chief Pellegrini the man appointed to try and lead the club to the next level in their new stadium next season.
As such, there are many expectant and excited West Ham fans in the Tavern at present, although they aren’t overly thrilled with reports linking Marko Arnautovic with a move to Manchester United.
And were the Red Devils to intensify their interest in the Austria international, West Ham simply must seek to demand £16.2 million-rated United star Chris Smalling (as per Transfermarkt) as part of any possible deal for Arnautovic.
Ultimately, 29-year-old Arnautovic played as big a part as anyone in helping keep the Hammers in the top-flight this term, bagging an impressive 11 goals and laying on six assists in 31 Premier League appearances for the club, finishing as their top goal-scorer.
Thus, it would be a huge loss were United to pinch the forward from the East London club this summer, and while Smalling would obviously not be a direct replacement for Arnautovic, his arrival would bolster another area of the squad which flagged at times this season.
The Hammers seriously struggled defensively this term in shipping 68 goals in their 38 league matches, the joint most alongside Stoke City in the Premier League this term. And for Pellegrini to take the club to the next level next time round, those defensive frailties need addressing – add in the departures of Jose Fonte during the season, and James Collins so far this summer, and additions are certainly needed.
And Smalling could be the man to shore up that leaky backline.
While he hasn’t always produced his best for United this time round, the 28-year-old remains a hugely accomplished Premier League defender and one that can make a difference in the heart of the Hammers defence – one doesn’t play 289 times for the Red Devils if one is a bad player.
And missing out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup is only likely to spark Smalling to re-discover his best form in the coming months and years, which can only be good news for a West Ham side eyeing the European spots under Pellegrini next term.
Yes, losing Arnautovic would without doubt be a big blow, but they should seek more than just money from his departure, and as such must demand United’s Smalling as part of a possible deal for the Austrian ace.
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