Potential Summer Targets
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 3 June 2018 at 9:06pm
Written by Ben Allen
Ben Foster: Free
Although relegated, Foster has a lot of experience in the league and at 35, still has a bit to offer. He would be a perfect back up keeper who will push our no.1 for their spot.
Jack Butland: £25m
An expensive one I know, however Jack Butland would be a statement of intent from our board as he would cost a fair bit of the £75m rumoured to be available to Pellegrini. However, we have never spent big on a goalkeeper, with our record for a goalkeeper being £4m for David James from Aston Villa – around 17 years ago. Since then we have mainly had goalkeepers on free transfers such as Jussi Jaaskelainen, Darren Randolph and Adrian (apart from Rob Green); all of whom have struggled to maintain the no.1 jersey. At the age of just 25, Butland has at least a decade in him and is already a very good goalkeeper- so just imagine how good he will be when at his peak.
Tom Heaton: £10m
Having lost his starting spot to Nick Pope after his injury, Heaton didn’t get back into the Burnley team at the end of the season, showing Sean Dyche may be willing to keep with Pope for the future. Heaton, a graduate of the Manchester United academy, has 3 England caps to his name, and would have definitely been on the plane to Russia this summer, had it not been for his injury and the emergence of Pope. In terms of what he would give to West Ham, he would bring an assurance to our defence starring young Declan Rice, as he is both a great shot stopper and commander of his box, something we have severely lacked over the past few seasons. He is also a leader, as shown by being the captain of Burnley, another key feature he would provide with the lack of leadership in our squad, especially with Ginger Pele leaving.
Luke Shaw: £15m
At only 22 years of age and seeming to have been around forever, Luke Shaw could be set for a summer transfer away from the 20 times Premier League champions this summer, seemingly caused by the fragile relationship between him and Jose Mourinho. With Shaw, he would bring more pace than Cresswell and better defending than Masuaku, who has struggled with the defensive side of the game when playing as part of Moyes’ back five. This suggests to me he would be far too unreliable as a left back in a back 4. I believe he would be far more effective in a left wing position with his pace and skill on the ball improving all the time and never failing to surprise us. In terms of Cresswell, as much as I love him and he is a favourite of mine, i believe he lacks the pace to be a left back as highlighted in the Manchester City game when he played as a LB as part of the back four following the subs we made. I believe that with Luke Shaw comes pace, power, technique and the ability to defend, and if Mourinho is willing to let him go, we should definitely go in for him. However, I feel his £100k+ wage demands may prove to be a stumbling block in any deal.
Ryan Fredericks: Free
Described as the “Championship Kyle Walker”, Fredericks would be a good addition to our squad for little money. We currently lack depth in the right back position. With Zabaleta getting on and the recurring injuries to Sam Byram, Fredericks would offer great competition to the Zabaleta. If Pellegrini wants young players with pace, Fredericks would be his man for the right back position. With the presence and experience of Pablo Zabaleta, who was arguably one of our best players last season, comes an opportunity for the young English right back to learn from the Argentine, who would be a great model for Fredericks to learn from and want to be like, which could lead him to becoming a starter for the Hammers next season. This move, however, is heavily dependent on whether he signs a new deal with Fulham or not, following their promotion to the Premier League.
Kurt Zouma: £15-20m
At the age of just 23, Zouma is a young powerful and pacy centre half who would offer a lot to West Ham’s backline. Under Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, he fell victim to a cruciate ligament rupture in the 2015/16 season after a very promising start to the season, being one of the Blues’ standout players during the demise of Mourinho, so much so that he was looking like the more experienced defender when next to former England captain John Terry. Zouma’s pace and power allows him to be a versatile player, shown by playing at right back at Stoke City last season and a central defensive midfielder during his days at Chelsea under Jose, as well as his favoured position of centre back. In terms of contracts, he is tied up at the Blues until 2023, meaning he would command a large transfer fee for a central defender in terms of what West Ham would pay. However, he would be a great signing and would be a formidable partner to Declan Rice or Angelo Ogbonna and would be a great defender to replace the Ogbonna in years to come. He would definitely offer a bright future and may become the world class centre back he is destined to be at the London Stadium. With the emergence of Andreas Christensen at the Bridge, the Blues may look to sell Zouma on for much needed transfer funds for the summer.
Alfie Mawson: £20m
A young, promising English centre half who can pass and defend is a player desirable to many top flight clubs, and Alfie Mawson is looking like the man who will be highly sought-after this summer following his side’s relegation to the Championship. Mawson is a player we attempted to sign in January, with rumours of a £25m deal on the horizon. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, which is a shame because he would have been a great signing for us then, especially with the imminent sale of Jose Fonte to China. Mawson is a promising centre back and one that likes to play football the right way and with Pellegrini hoping to play a more attractive, attacking based style of play, the former Barnsley man could offer similar talent and style to that of John Stones, another former Barnsley player who is a much desired talent amongst premier league clubs. In terms of the fee, I believe we would be looking at around £20m for the youngster. This is expensive for a club with a record transfer fee of £25m I know, however, Mawson would add a quality to the squad we desire and would definitely suit Pellegrini’s style of football.
Another ex Manchester United player I hear you say? Yes it is. During the summer and january transfer windows of last season, Jonny Evans was a centre back in demand, wanted by top clubs such as Manchester City and Arsenal. You may wonder why they wanted him so much that City submitted a £30m bid for him. Well, he is a traditional centre half who puts his body on the line for the cause, is both footed and offers a great deal of experience to any side who may acquire his services. Although 30 years old and only adding to our ageing squad, I can’t help but feel he would provide great depth to our side for such a bargain price of £3m, a fraction of what Manchester City were willing to pay for him last summer. Sullivan would love this deal as he is cheap and an immediate starter for our squad. Forget what happened at West Brom last season, he wasn’t that much to blame, he would be excited about being at a new club and a fresh start away from the long ball football of The Baggies, and would offer a lot to Manuel Pellegrini in terms of value for money. He would add much needed leadership to the squad and would maybe soften the blow of losing our beloved James Collins.
William Carvalho: Free/ £25m
We all know who he is and what he does following our failed pursuit of him last summer where we failed to meet Sporting Lisbon’s £40m price tag. However, this summer, he could be available for less with many of the Sporting squad wanting to move due to recent events involving the clubs fans, meaning we may get Carvalho for close to our valuation this time around. He would provide a stable base to allow our attacking talents do what they want and allow full backs to push on, by providing a shield to the defence, something we couldn’t do last season with Kouyate, Noble and Obiang due to their lack of defensive ability and mindset, making us far more vulnerable, particularly on the counter attack.Carvalho could solve these problems by signing for us. However, Sporting’s board may be reluctant to deal with us following our pursuit of him last summer.
Leander Dendoncker: £15m
Named in the Belgium squad last week at the age of just 23, the versatile Leander Dendoncker would be a good signing from Anderlecht, who we last dealt with when buying another versatile player going by the name of Cheikou Kouyate. A long term target of ours, Dendoncker offers a great deal of talent, being able to operate as a centre half, holding midfielder or central midfielder. The 6ft 1 Belgian would offer a lot to our side currently lacking depth, being able to provide cover for most defensive positions. He was linked with Manchester United last summer, who were very impressed with his ability to pass the ball and break up play, showing his class. Sullivan needs to get this deal done as soon as possible and not mess Anderlecht around following the shenanigans of when we previously tried to buy him in order to ensure we acquire the highly-rated young man.
Jack Wilshere: Free
A West Ham fan himself, Wilshere is England’s most technically gifted midfielder who has somehow missed out on the plane to Russia for this summer’s World Cup. A passionate footballer with the ability to dribble with the ability to pass is a feature we lack with the centre midfield partnership of Kouyate and Mark Noble. The thought of him linking up with the Jewel that is Manuel Lanzini is a thought that would frighten the life out of many teams in the Premier League. With his contract situation at Arsenal still to be resolved and the Gooners’ acquisition of Unai Emery, West Ham should pounce and offer him what he wants to get him to the London Stadium. Talents like him don’t come around often, especially for a steal of a free transfer. He is a player that gets fans off of their seats and makes them want to go to matches just like the legend of Paolo Di Canio did. Some people would be concerned with the signing as they see him as “injury-prone” and a waste of £100k a week. However, this season and the season before (at Arsenal and Bournemouth respectively), Jack played most games available for both sides showing his injury days are gone. He wouldn’t be guaranteed a place in Arsenal’s starting eleven with the arrival of Emery and the depth they currently have in that position, suggesting he may be seeking a move away to resurrect his career elsewhere and force himself back into the England reckoning that he is destined for. He would be a crowd favourite with us and would be a top class signing.
KI Seung-Yeung: Free
Ki is a player we have been interested in for quite some time now and I feel that now he is available on a free, we will snap him up. He would be a good deal as he would provide depth in the centre midfield position and his passing range is better than most of our current midfielders’. He prefers to keep things simple, a trait I like, that means he looks to offload the ball to creative players sooner to get us on our way. However, I would only sign him to add depth, not as a starter as I believe we should be looking at players of a better quality for the future.
Adama Traore: £12m
“Young players with pace” is how Pellegrini wants to go about his transfer business this summer and Barcelona academy graduate Adama Traore would certainly fit that mould. His dribbling ability is mesmerising (as we know) and his dribbles per game was higher than Neymar last season (although it was in the championship). Some say he lacks the end product which wingers should have. However, one of Pellegrini’s first signings during his time at Manchester City was Jesus Navas, another player with pace and no end product. However, that season he made 35 appearances whilst keeping Raheem Sterling out of the side, showing Pellegrini puts faith into these players and gets the best out of them, whilst sticking to his philosophy. We also have to remember that Traore is only 22 years old and would inject the pace we need in the team, only provided by the injury-prone Michail Antonio and Arthur Masuaku, who only plays at left back. Traore is an exciting player and would be a good project for Pellegrini to work with. Hopefully, if we did sign him, he would be able to get advice from stars such as Lanzini and our beloved Marko Arnautovic, in order to give him that end product, which would enable him to reach new levels, which can only benefit both parties. He is definitely a risk worth taking and would only cost £10-15m, which could prove to be a bargain if he starts firing which could lead to a massive move and make him worth 4 times as much as what we buy him for.
Xherdan Shaqiri: £15m
The Swiss international has had an decent career having been at clubs such Bayern Munich and Inter Milan; yet somehow he ended up at Stoke. He is a brilliant talent and should be a top target for us this summer with Stoke going down- which could enable us to get him for a far better price than we could have before. 8 goals and 7 assists for a struggling side last year proved to be their only hope of staying up. However, with their relegation confirmed, he is looking for a move to a top flight club and I would love him to come to West Ham and link back up with Marko Arnautovic. His set pieces and long range shooting ability is something we have missed dearly since the departure of Dimitri Payet to Marseille in January 2017. However, Shaqiri would bring more to the table than Payet. He has a winning mentality which he developed at Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, something we are severely lacking in our squad. He is relatively fast and has end product, which Pellegrini will hopefully see and be impressed by, meaning we may be interested in signing him. He should be a top target for this summer as his creativity and flair combined with Lanzini, Arnautovic and Chicharito would be the stuff of dreams.
Badou N’Diaye: £15m
Yet another Stoke player, N’Diaye is a powerful, energetic workhorse who doesn’t stop running and making tackles. He has technique and can pass, something Kouyate has lacked since joining. At 27, he is currently at his peak and was impressive under Paul Lambert at the Potters since joining for £15m in January. I believe we could get him for a similar, if not lower price this summer, which would represent good value for money. However, I fear we may face competition from Everton and Watford, who are also keen on signing the Senegalese international.
Jonjo Shelvey: £15-20m
Once deemed the “Next Steven Gerrard”, Shelvey has had an up and down career, mainly due to his attitude and behaviour. His talent however, is there for all to see, showing just why people made the comparisons between him and ex teammate Gerrard. His passing range, particularly the long diagonal pass (another trait similar to Gerrard), is to be admired by everyone as he can switch play with ease or put a striker through and ball with a fantastic defence splitting pass. He also has a great shooting ability from distance, which fans often like as he will be able to pull out the odd screamer every now and again. Overall, if he can be tamed, he can be a fans favourite at our club, one he supported as a boy growing up may I add. With Newcastle’s ownership situation unresolved, we may be able to swoop in and get him for a fair price of around £15-20m. However, Sullivan would need to apologise for calling the 26 year old “useless” after their FA Cup defeat at Wigan earlier this year, something I believe will be hard for him to do.
Gerard Deulofeu: Loan (with an option to buy)
Sullivan has always liked a loan deal with an option to buy, as shown by the cases of Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll in recent years. In this case, Deulofeu would be a good addition to our squad. He has pace, flair and shooting ability, as demonstrated during his Everton days and a couple of times during his loan spell at Watford this season. Overall, a loan deal for the Spaniard would be great as it would allow us to see how the player does under our new boss and if he can become a certified starter. He showed us his ability in the Watford vs Chelsea game this season, where he looked like scoring or creating a chance every time he came forward, something we lacked last season. Overall, he would be a good loan signing and hopefully will be another Lanzini.
Joao Mario: Loan (with an option to buy)
He cost Inter Milan over £35m following a European Championships win with Portugal in the summer of 2016. We had him on loan for 6 months last season and opinion on the success of the signing was split, with some deeming him not physical enough for the league, whilst others hailed his creativity and work rate. I believe we should loan him for the upcoming season as I believe he requires more time to adapt to the league physically; then we can judge him and his talents. You also have to remember he was playing in a defensive system/style under David Moyes, which limited his contribution to just 2 goals and 1 assist in 1027 minutes played. These numbers would undoubtedly be far higher if he was played in an attacking system, which may be why Pellegrini might be looking to bring the Portuguese man back to East London.
Mario Balotelli: Free
A troublesome, egotistical player with a lot of talent. Sound familiar? The Italian striker is available on a free this summer following a successful season at Nice in Ligue 1, where he scored 18 goals in 28 appearances- a goal every 127 minutes, which I am sure you’ll agree, are fantastic figures. He would add another option to our strikeforce consisting of poacher Javier Hernandez, the great Marko Arnautovic, injury prone Andy Carroll and the £10m man Jordan Hugill, who is yet to start a competitive game for the Hammers and may leave to get first team football. There’s no denying that Balotelli has had issues in the past, however, us as West Ham fans, love a rebel, shown by our passion for legend Paolo Di Canio and current goal-machine Marko Arnautovic. Arnie rates Balotelli highly, so much so that when asked for his dream 5 a side team, the Italian was in it, suggesting that there may be a relationship there that they probably developed at Inter Milan together. If Marko and Balotelli could form a relationship alongside Chicharito, Lanzini, Antonio and others, the Hammers could become a feared outfit next season if they all flourish. Balotelli on a free for a year or two would be a great signing for us I feel, although he will need to be controlled. This move could be unlikely seeing as it was Pellegrini who sold Balotelli in 2013 from Manchester City. However, he has matured according to many people including AC Milan captain Leonardo Bonucci, suggesting he may be ready to step up and become a regular premier league goal scorer.
Salomon Rondon: £15m
We were linked with him as soon as Pellegrini was announced as manager, due to them spending time together at Malaga. Rondon is a big, powerful striker who can hold the ball up and he is very good in the air. He struggled in the West Brom team, scoring 7 goals and getting 3 assists altogether last season, something which may put off West Ham fans. However, he has great technique for a big man and provides a base of which to build our attacks up. He can be the man holding up the ball whilst Arnie, Hernandez and Lanzini make runs beyond him, something Andy Carroll can do but not to as much effect. He will be eager to get back to the top flight following relegation with the Baggies and West Ham may well be potential suitors. However, with Pellegrini looking for “young players with pace”, the deal may be unlikely.