West Ham

How West Ham could line up after summer transfer window

Toby Cudworth
West Ham have exciting options going forward
West Ham have exciting options going forward / Chris Brunskill/Sanjin Strukic Pixsell/Craig Mercer/Ian MacNicol | MB Media/Fantasista/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

West Ham's strong start to the season has been backed up by a healthy end to the transfer window, with David Moyes welcoming three new signings in the week leading up to the deadline.

Early business was concluded when goalkeeper Alphonse Areola joined the club on loan, providing strong competition for the incumbent Lukasz Fabianski, but the pressure was on to strengthen further ahead of a welcome adventure in the Europa League.

The club left it late to act, but ultimately have delivered three further pieces of excellent recruitment - supplementing an already quality squad with greater depth while providing Moyes the ability to rotate.

Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic could end up costing the club close to £60m should all future incentive payments be triggered, while the late loan addition of defensive midfielder Alex Kral increases the club's already healthy Czech Republic contingent.

The question on the lips of West Ham fans now is how Moyes will look to integrate his new signings.

The Scot has variety and options in a number of key areas - which should allow the workload of some of his key players to be lessened - and that could allow for formational flexibility, depending on the strength of West Ham's opponents and situation of any given game.

Here, 90min analyses who Moyes now has his disposal, looking at how West Ham may look to line up once everyone is up to speed.


Goalkeeper & Defence

One thing West Ham really needed was a new central defender.

Many were linked over the course of the summer, most notably Nikola Milenkovic and Kurt Zouma. The latter was who the Hammers ended up signing three days before the deadline, undoubtedly delighting Moyes - who had identified the Frenchman as his number one target.

Zouma's arrival should ultimately spell the end of Craig Dawson's regular gig in the team, as the Frenchman should slot in alongside the left-footed Angelo Ogbonna when Moyes picks his strongest XI. There's also Issa Diop to consider, and he'll see plenty of action too because of the club's commitments in the Europa League.


West Ham's current first first-choice combination

*All images courtesy of CreateFormation


There's also likely to be a change in goal at some point, with PSG loanee Areola surely too good to sit on the bench behind Lukasz Fabianski, The Pole is 36 now, has struggled with injuries over the past 18 months, and would be the first admit to that his performance levels have dropped from the high standard he set during his first season in the capital.

Areola may not get his chance until the European programme is in full swing, but expect him to usurp Fabianski as the number one before the year ends.


Possible options post-transfer window


Midfield & Attack

Not only is West Ham's defence stronger, they now have greater depth in the heart of midfield and with their attacking options.

Sure, David Moyes would loved to have signed an out-and-out striker to play second fiddle to Michail Antonio, but ultimately he couldn't find the profile of player he wanted. This was likely because of unavailability, clubs or agents asking for too much money or players simply not wanting to join knowing Antonio would, in all probability, always start when fit.

There are at least workarounds now, with Vlasic's arrival in particular adding a new dymanic to West Ham's attacking midfield. The Croat is probably best suited to playing centrally in the number ten role, but he's equally as capable on either flank.


West Ham's current first first-choice combination


That could allow for greater utilisation of Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen, and there's no reason to think why one of those players couldn't act as a pressing false nine, should Antonio ever be unavailable for selection.

Furthermore, Vlasic brings further creativity to a team who haven't had any issue creating chances for the past year or so. That in itself is exciting and may help to eradicate days where West Ham are a bit below their best.


Possible options post-transfer window


The addition of Kral, meanwhile, gives West Ham more legs in the heart of midfield, either to allow Declan Rice or Tomas Soucek time to rest up or to join them and help see out a game the club are winning.

There's now the possibility of a more sturdy three-man midfield - particularly for difficult away games - and that should place greater emphasis on West Ham's ability to counter attack. Pace either side of Antonio can make that work, and the beauty for Moyes now is that he can flip between systems knowing that he has the personnel to do so.

Starting Kral also increases the chances of West Ham playing a false nine, should they decide Bowen or Andriy Yarmolenko are not the way to go in a traditional striker role.


Rotation is certain this campaign, in stark contrast to how Moyes operated for most of last season. With these signings, he not only has three more international calibre players to call in, he has a far greater chance of keeping West Ham competitive. Without them, their electrifying start to the campaign would surely have evaporated as the air miles clock up.

There's work to do to make everything click, but this an exciting time to be a West Ham fan.


For more from Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!

facebooktwitterreddit