Having debated all manner of West Ham United-related topics in recent weeks, today, five MooreThanJustAClub writers give their opinions on who they would like to see arrive at depart from the London Stadium in this summer’s transfer window, one player in and one player out each, a mix of different views for sure.
Luke Glanville (@Glanville_Luke) – Site Lead:
In: James Maddison
Of the realistic and rumoured transfer targets that West Ham are being linked to this season, this man stands out, as noted in my Five: Must-Have West Ham United Championship Summer Transfer Targets article earlier in the week.
James Maddison of Norwich City is 21-years-of-age and has bags of potential, an England U21 and attacking midfielder, who has netted 15 goals in the Championship this season.
Should David Moyes remain with the Hammers beyond the end of this season, It is my belief that he will look to the lower league and look for young talent, Maddison fits both of those billings.
Other names that he has also reportedly been interested in are Fulham stars Ryan Fredericks and Marcus Bettinelli, with slightly older targets including the likes of the Cottagers’ Tom Cairney and Leeds United’s Pontus Jansson.
Moyes has harnessed his reputation of bringing players through the ranks and into the first-team, seen more vividly during his time with Everton, Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley, to name but a few, spring to mind.
The manager has already proved that this campaign with the signing of Jordan Hugill, the fact that he was captured on a five-year deal proved that he is interested in turning him into a Premier League player gradually.
And I can only assume that should he be signed up, albeit Maddison is a few years younger than Hugill, he will have similar plans with the charge and if the deal happens, it will be exciting to watch the Englishman develop over the years.
Out: Andy Carroll
I’m afraid I will very much be following the Status Quo here and opting for striker Andy Carroll, although it is with reluctance that I choose him for my Out.
Unfortunately, his tale is a familiar one to Hammers fans and football fans in general, names such as Dean Ashton spring to mind and while his injuries haven’t been as severe as Ashton’s, he is heading in a similar direction.
There was much promise and excitement when Carroll made his move from Liverpool permanent in summer 2013, but his time has been ravaged, to say the very least, by injuries.
Don’t misunderstand me, the ex-England International has made a valuable contribution in Claret & Blue so far, with highlights including his 2015/2016 season hat-trick against Arsenal and last season’s overhead-kick at home to Crystal Palace, among others.
The statistics speak for themselves, however, as the forward has only averaged around 20-25 appearances per season out of the upwards of 40 each campaign that each club plays.
What he was purchased for and his wage bill just haven’t been repaid over the years, his tenure in Claret & Blue has been frustrating for him and the supporters.
Each spell of promising form has been followed by an injury and while he has scored goals when he has been in the team, his disciplinary record for a striker also lets him down.
Furthermore, his off-field antics, and I’m not saying it’s easy being out injured for large spells, have been questionable, being pictured in bars and clubs while injured will never make you the most popular figure amongst fans.
Carroll may be returning to action in Monday night’s key Premier League clash with Stoke City, but for me, his days have been numbered at London Stadium for some time now.
This summer, a move away from West Ham for Carroll seems like the best thing for all parties concerned and I’m sure some fans would wish him best for the future, other fans be sorrowful and some glad to see the back of him, although if there is to be an outgoing this summer, he does look the most likely to be it.
Alf Gasparro (@alfgasparro) – Columnist:
In: Leander Dendoncker
Should I stay or should I go now? The transfer merry-go-round will shortly commence as the season closes and West Ham have surely been saved from the fiery hell of the Championship, however, which player should absolutely stay and which should unreservedly leave?
There are many players that I would say the team needs to retain if it wants to have any kind of success next season, however, there are players that it really needs to buy and in crucial portions too. The central holding midfield position has been a problem area and the club need to invest in a player for the long term. Leander Dendoncker of Anderlecht may be available during the summer as they need to balance their books, and crucially his age of 22yrs old and skill maybe exactly what the club needs for next season and for the years to come.
Out: Andy Carroll
The same could be said of players I would like to see leave the club…and there are a few candidates. However, the overwhelming front-runner would have to be Andy Carroll. This is not necessarily because of his lack of talent, however anytime he has played then West Ham become one dimensional and play ugly. But the main reason has to be that he seems to spend more time injured than he does being productive on the pitch…whilst on a princely salary too. The club should sell Carroll, save the money and invest it in a player who is at least consistent and available all season long that delivers a healthy return in games too.
Nick Caccavone (@slicknick66) – Columnist:
In: Ruben Neves
It looks like we’ll be doing battle with Wolverhampton Wanderers next season. They’re a team that likes to play football and their manager has certainly made a statement in his debut season in England this year. It’s no mean feat to get out of the notorious Championship. The few times I’ve seen them on TV this season they’ve played with confidence.
Ruben Neves scored an absolute screamer the other evening as Wolves edged closer to the Premier League. Recruited by Nuno Espírito Santo when he took up the reins at the beginning of the season. The youngest Champions League captain when he led out Porto against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
He’s played at every level for the Portuguese national team, he was the statement of intent for Wolves when he became their record signing at the beginning of the season. He is a master of passing and touched the ball nearly 3000 times completing over 2000 passes to teammates.
He signed a five-year contract when completing the move from Portugal for a fee of which was undisclosed believed to be around £15 million. It’s unlikely that he’d move especially as he’ll be in the World Cup shop window this summer.
Wolves have flexed their financial muscle to put them within a whisker of the Premier League and their spending will no doubt continue when they reach the promised land. If you didn’t know who he was was a few nights ago you certainly do now. A young talented player with the world literally at his feet. I’d love to see him in a claret and blue jersey but think it’s unlikely. Definitely, one to watch in Russia.
Out: Andy Carroll
It’s with a heavy heart I’d have to say adios to Andy Carroll. I’ve wanted AC to succeed just as much as Slaven Bilic. Alas, the time spent off the field is too much. Expectations have never been fulfilled and the odd goal here and there can’t save him I’m afraid. The team has to adapt to him. Unplayable on his day and a beast for the opposition but the time has come to part ways. After much soul-searching and a teary eye, I bid you well my friend.
Ciaran Judge (@Refjustice) – Columnist:
In: Rafa Benitez
In order for us to move to this mythical next level, I feel there is one man for the job – Rafa Benitez. Look what he has achieved with Newcastle this season, it’s a great achievement I think he really could be a great fit for us and worth paying big money for. Players on the fringes of the bigger clubs would want to play for him and his record speaks for itself, yes at times he is negative but he gets results. Moyes has done well but for me, Rafa is the future.
Out: David Moyes
The transfer window is so very hard to get right and it has been a while since West Ham have had a good one, I have always felt that since moving to the new stadium, West Ham are searching for an identity both on and off the pitch and in order to get that we need a manager who will attract a certain level of player. David Moyes has done well no doubt, I firmly believe that we would have gone down under Bilic he has managed to hold the club together through very tough times and I am grateful for that but I don’t think he is the man to take us forward.
Tim Adams (@TimAdams76) – Columnist:
In: Danny Drinkwater
When the highlight of your career at Chelsea is being captured by TV cameras drinking water on the touchline, you know something has gone wrong. Out of favour and out of touch under Antonio Conte, the midfielder is now likely to seek a move after making just 12 appearances in over a year at the Blues.
In most scenarios, it would be advisable for a club like West Ham United to stay well away but this is a clear exception and where Chelsea viewed Drinkwater as surplus to requirements their London neighbours would see this as some coup. Drinkwater was instrumental in Leicester City’s title defence, providing a sense of belief for fans, and subsequent relief for any defence, due to his tenacious nature to hunt down the ball and close down space before attacks reach the 25-yard box. But it is his leadership skill which could prove to be the biggest asset, an attribute likely to create an instant affinity with those watching on. A no-brainer of a transfer if it is possible.
Out: Andy Carroll
Modernisation in different fields of life can take many representations. But for West Ham that idea, although predictable, is simple. It involves moving on from Any Carroll. For too long injuries have plagued the career of the striker, with surgery for his foot in January a sign of being a liability, not the reliability that the club demands and deserves. With Javier Hernandez, Michail Antonio and Marko Arnautović providing options up top then the idea that the club can sell Carroll becomes more realistic.
The latter out of those three has found resurgence in form under David Moyes, netting ten goals in his last 18 appearances. The results are finally arriving and if the former Stoke marksman can stay fit then he can be the catalyst to take the club to where it belongs.
Before they start thinking about the summer transfer window, however, Moyes’ Hammers must undoubtedly make sure of their Premier League safety first, and with four of the top six still left to play in the league, the outcome of their survival bid is expected to largely rest on the Monday night visit of Stoke City to the London Stadium.
You can follow that clash live right here on MooreThanJustAClub with our Live Blog, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction from the matchup, live from the London Stadium Press Box from 6 PM BST. And, of course, if you agree/disagree with any of the views in this article, find us on Twitter @MooreThanAClub to let us know and join the discussion.