West Ham's need to strengthen it's squad is well documented, the possible need for reinforcements being more acute due to Angelo Ogbonna's long term injury and Saïd Benrahma's six week unavailability due to his participation in the impending AFCON tournament.
The fixture list the club faces is daunting even for clubs with massive squads like Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool, so David Moyes faces an uphill task in order to keep pace with them. The hectic schedule begins on Saturday with the game away to Wolves which is then followed by a further TWELVE games, all in the space of 42 days!
That's virtually a GAME EVERY THREE DAYS for SIX full weeks! Make no mistake, the challenges David Moyes has had to overcome so far this season will pale into insignificance if he is unable to navigate this tricky period. Obviously fans and observers have been quick to link Hammers with a plethora of players as a result of Daniel Kretinsky's recent inbound financial investment.
The stark reality hiding behind all the financial sunshine is that the money Kretinsky has brought to the table will be used to "facilitate the club's upward trajectory by assisting in providing a stable operating environment. Funding for players will be available enabling the manager 'sufficient' scope to pursue appropriately researched acquisitions" are parts of the 'mission' statement, good news, BUT in no way does that indicate a January buying frenzy, in fact far from it.
Alex Kral was brought in to cover the midfield duo of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, so that 'emergency' is catered for. Nikola Vlasic was brought in as 'false' cover for Michail Antonio and Alphonse Areola for Lukasz Fabianski in addition to Kurt Zouma to replace 'Les' Dawson.
Zouma's signing is now looking to have been an inspired choice, now Issa Diop and Les will have to battle it out for selection, with Jamal Baptiste being promoted to the first team training in order to get read for the next jump up. The ONE really massive elephant in the room is the position of left back! Aaron Cresswell, written off by many a couple of years ago, is in the form of his life, his assists and dead ball placement are second to none, his place in the team is integral and it could be argued he is up there with Rice and Antonio as a vital part of the team's success.
Authur Masuaku is a 'complicated' player who is capable of moments of pure brilliance on his day, but a left back he AIN'T and he is not capable of occupying that position to any degree, his forte being the ability to bring the ball out of defence, NOT tracking back or making 'safe' interceptions. The club do not have a 'proper' left back in their ranks, Ben Johnson CAN play at left back, but he is not naturally a left sided player and moving sides would hamper his performances, which of course have been SO good that they have kept Vlad the impaler Coufal out of the first team.
So don't expect David Moyes to get 'cash blind' just because there might be a few quid in the kitty, he may try to get Jesse Lingard in to cover for Saïd Benrahma if the price is right, but his main interest will be to get in cover for Cresswell, the 31year old, who is soon to turn 32, has been an ever present for Moyes this term, losing him would be catastrophic and seriously impact on the club's fortunes.
Moyes is no fool and will be only too aware of how much his team relies on Cresswell, so he simply MUST bring in a back up and be proactive by resting Cresswell occasionally rather than risking injury by playing him consistently without a proper break. Also there are Cresswell's hair product sponsors that have to be kept happy, after all they CANNOT be expected to keep his hair SO pristine for an entire season without being rested! - Ed