Hammers 'urgent' need for an additional midfield player who knows how to 'put it about' was highlighted during the 3-2 defeat to Brentford last Saturday, a midfield shorn of the likes of Lucas Paqueta AND Edson Alvarez was cruelly exposed. Ironically the player who could easily have stepped in to fill the gaps is currently on loan at Southampton where he is performing impeccably.
Unfortunately West Ham are unable to recall Flynn Downes from his loan spell at the Saints because the South East coast club insisted on a full year no recall loan arrangement as part of the permanent deal that saw James Ward-Prowse move to East London.
Normally loaning clubs have the option of a recall 'ring fenced', alas it was not the case with Downes probably because his old manager at Swansea Russell Martin now manages the Saints and is a keen admirer of the combative midfielder, a player David Moyes just didn't 'fancy' given the measly amount of Premier League playing time he gave him.
The other option to bolster the midfield, especially bearing in mind the fact that Mo Kudus and Said Benrahma will BOTH be at the Africa Cup of Nations, is to recall 20 year old Freddie Potts from Wycombe Wanderers where he has been performing with aplomb.
There IS a recall option for this member of one of Hammers football dynasty families however, son of Steve Potts and brother of Dan Potts, Freddie bleeds Claret & Blue! Although Freddie has only represented the Irons in a couple of European matches he is a box to box midfielder with energy to burn, something that cannot always be said of Moyes 1st team incumbents!
It is all very well sending a player out to learn his craft, but the 1st team's needs are brutally apparent and it would be a surprise if he wasn't recalled in January. Hammers are also in desperate need of 'upping' their home grown talent quota, so young Freddie would be able to fill one of those much needed slots.
It is easy to have crystal clear hindsight from afar, but surely the need to bolster the midfield was apparent ahead of AFCON? We could address the ridiculous 'Elephant in the room' striker situation as well, but in the interest of high blood pressure monitoring will leave it a while! -Ed