One year ago, West Ham entered the summer transfer window with the need for a significant overhaul, highlighted by Mark Noble’s retirement as a major change in the dressing room, writes the Evening Standard. Despite making eight signings in the summer and adding Danny Ings in January, the desired transformation did not fully materialize. The club’s hierarchy will be eager to avoid repeating similar mistakes. The impending departure of Declan Rice, who is Arsenal’s primary transfer target, will necessitate a midfield revamp.
West Ham is hopeful that a transfer fee of approximately £100 million for Rice will provide a significant financial boost. However, replacing Rice is unlikely to be a straightforward task, especially considering that David Moyes has been operating with a shortage of central midfielders throughout the season. Currently, the options are limited to Tomas Soucek, Lucas Paqueta, and Flynn Downes, who are expected to remain with the club at the beginning of the new campaign.
Encouragingly, Paqueta is now displaying the qualities that West Ham initially envisioned when they signed him in a record-breaking deal last summer. He can potentially become the focal point of a revamped midfield. On the other hand, the full-back position has remained problematic throughout the season, with Vladimir Coufal, Thilo Kehrer, Aaron Cresswell, Ben Johnson, and Emerson Palmieri failing to provide consistent performances.
There may also be a need to target another center-back, as Craig Dawson was not replaced in January, and both Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd have been prone to injuries. Additionally, Angelo Ogbonna is aging and has yet to agree to a new contract.
In the attacking department, potential additions are likely to depend on outgoing transfers, particularly in the center-forward position. Despite the signings of Ings and Gianluca Scamacca, the long-standing issue in that area has not been fully resolved so far.
Moyes has indicated his intention to target players with established experience in the Premier League during the upcoming summer transfer window. He was frustrated by the time it took for last year’s major overseas signings to adapt to English football.
One firm midfield target for West Ham is James Ward-Prowse, who is available following Southampton’s relegation. The club is also keeping an eye on the situations of Kalvin Phillips and Conor Gallagher at their respective clubs.
Harvey Barnes, who is likely to be part of a player exodus at relegated Leicester, has been linked with a move to West Ham.
In terms of squad depth, West Ham currently have a sufficient number of players, but several departures will be necessary to make room for any new arrivals. This is especially true if the club fails to secure another season in Europe by defeating Fiorentina in the upcoming Europa Conference League final.
Aside from Declan Rice’s anticipated departure, Manuel Lanzini is expected to leave the club as his contract expires. While Angelo Ogbonna and Lukasz Fabianski also have expiring deals, both are likely to extend their stays. There is concern that Gianluca Scamacca may be tempted to return to Italy due to difficulties in settling in the United Kingdom.