West Ham will once again try to break into the top 4 of the APL
Nine years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson picked David Moyes as his successor at the helm of Manchester United, but the Chosen One, as he was initially dubbed by Mancunian fans, only lasted nine months at Old Trafford. Those who know the history will confirm that Ferguson himself was on his way to his first trophy with MU for four years and was repeatedly on the verge of being fired due to poor results. It took Sir Alex time to prepare the most successful period in the history of the club, Moyes did not get that time, although he is of the same test: this Scottish also needs time and trust to give results.
Moyes’ first stint at West Ham in the 2017/18 season did not impress the London club’s bosses, they wanted everything at once and David could not promise that. “The Hammers lost a year and a half before they called on Moyes again to save the team from the calamity of relegation to the Championship. The Scotsman did well in the 2019/20 season, and the following year he dropped West Ham to sixth place in the Premier League standings. It was a shock and delight that was not followed by failure, as many expected. “West Ham has become a force to be reckoned with by the top clubs in the APL, and Moyes’ team is going to be even more dangerous in the new season.
West Ham’s underdogs in the 2021/22 season
After finishing sixth in the 2020/21 season, West Ham dropped to seventh place in the next APL season. A slight deterioration of results with a significant complication of the team’s calendar: for the first time in a long time, the Hammers had a large and successful European Cup campaign on a par with their performances on the domestic scene. In the Europa League, David Moyes’ team reached the semi-finals, where they lost to the future winners of the tournament, Eintracht Frankfurt. At some point during the spring part of the season, VC bet on the Europa League, which resulted in losing several points in the APL and missed the opportunity to pass Man United in the fight for the sixth position.
And yet in the first half of the Premier League season West Ham were even in the top 4, and David Moyes was not shy to say aloud that the next goal of his team – getting into the Champions League. That goal could not be achieved: a short bench and injuries to key players during the season interfered with it. At one point the team was without their main pair of central defenders, Ogbonna-Zouma, with the Italian sidelined for many months after rupturing a cruciate ligament. And the lack of an alternative to Michael Antonio in attack made West Ham’s ambitions of reaching the top-four of the APL and winning the Europa League too naive.
With all the personnel difficulties, West Ham had an outstanding season, although there was still a feeling of understatement due to the fact that they failed to reach something important and significant here and there. It seemed that West Ham were separated from their goals by two or three strong newcomers, whom the club did not buy last summer or at least in winter, when it was already obvious that the team, fighting decently on all fronts, needed help. Alas, the Hammers were left without transfers, without trophies and without a ticket to the Champions League. However, there is a new season ahead in which the fight for a new status will continue.
Declan Rice remains. It’s a marker of West Ham’s lofty ambitions
The saddest scenario for West Ham would be the loss of the team’s pillars, but David Moyes and the club’s management have managed to keep the squad. Tomas Soucek, whose conflict with the coaching staff was rumored in the spring, has stayed and is already scoring in friendlies, but the main victory for the club is that he managed to gain the confidence of Declan Rice. Potentially the most expensive midfielder in the Premier League, who has had his teeth sharpened by almost all the recognized top clubs, has made a firm decision to stay at West Ham. Rice is unapproachable, there are zero rumors around him, although there is no doubt in the demand for the midfielder on the English market.
An important addition to Declan’s decision was provided by insiders: the young captain (officially took over after the retirement of Mark Noble, although he regularly led the team on the field during the previous season) received assurances of ambition from the club. In other words, Rice is ready to continue playing for West Ham, if the Hammers will confirm their desire to be among the strongest teams in England. Perhaps even break or complete the “Big Six”. And what could be more convincing than powerful transfers? “The Hammers are preparing a springboard for a new assault on the transfer market.
Ager, Areola, Scamacca and Kostic are top transfers for West Ham
Last fall, West Ham poached Manchester City’s top scout, Rob Newman, and appointed him head of the squad’s recruiting department. The deals West Ham has made and will still make this summer are his doing. However, with David Moyes all newcomers are agreed, the Scotsman remains a manager in the broad British sense of the word, he is not just a coach.
Newman has already solved several important problems. First, he strengthened the center of defense by signing a Morocco and Rennes defender. Naif Aguer has unique for a center-back speed qualities and great start to attacks, his combination with Kurt Zouma looks very promising. Secondly, West Ham bought Alphonso Areol from PSG, who spent the previous season in London on loan. It is assumed that from the new season the world champion will move 37-year-old Lukasz Fabianski and become the absolute number one.
Third, West Ham signed central midfielder Flynn Downes from Swansea. The hardy fighter is needed for the rotation, in fact, it’s a replacement for Alex Krall, who sat in deep reserve last season and retired Mark Noble. Downs will try to get more playing minutes out of Moyes and at the same time relieve Rice and Soucek. Conor Coventry, a pupil of the club who played for MK Dons on loan during the second part of the 2021/22 season, will also get a place in the midfield squad.
But West Ham’s most interesting transfers lie ahead. Italian forward Gianluca Scamacca (16 goals for Sassuolo in the last Serie A season) will join the Hammers after undergoing a medical, and West Ham have also made an official offer to Eintracht Frankfurt on Filip Kostic, one of the best assist men in the Bundesliga in recent years. The players’ interests are represented by agent Alessandro Lucci, who is interested in moving both of his clients to London. And if these deals happen, West Ham will be expected to fight for the top-4 and win the Conference League. David Moyes’ team will try to surprise everyone.