I am not sure if we even need another defensive midfielder, let alone spending a significant sum of money on one. Of course, if a player of real quality were to become available for the right price, then it would make sense to improve our squad, but I cannot see it happening.

With the exception of games against the top six, do we need to play two defensive midfielders? The style Manuel Pellegrini is implementing was clear for everyone to see last season, but two defensive midfielders could have a detrimental effect on this.

Declan Rice is clearly going to be far too good for us, unless we can progress significantly as a club in the next couple of years, but do we need another defensive midfielder alongside him? For me this will slow down the speed of play. Provided he doesn’t get left alone to do it all by himself, and his team mates in the centre of the park put a shift in, he is more than capable of protecting the defence. He breaks up play very well and distributes the ball intelligently, so wouldn’t it benefit the whole team if both of his midfield teammates can change a game in an instant?

With players such as Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini (hopefully) and Pablo Fornals, we have a midfield that is a danger to any team in the league with the comfort of knowing Rice is there to protect the back four.

Check out Pablo Fornals’ first interview for West Ham here

Against the top six this would leave us open, but at the moment we still have Mark Noble, Robert Snodgrass, Carlos Sanchez and Pedro Obiang all capable of playing in a more restricted role alongside Rice. This gives us options to change our tactics and strengthen defensively when we need to, but to go and spend big on a player to make a difference against six teams would be an unwise strategy.

It’s more important to have a team to beat the other 13 teams in the league than just building a team to beat the top six. When we play against teams that are in and around us, or even worse, those that don’t want to attack us, we struggle to break them down. Imagine having these attacking options on the field; Lanzini and Fornals in the midfield, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko on the wings, with Marko Arnautovic upfront.

This will give us different ways in which we can break down and hurt a team. It would take a well-drilled team to keep those calibre of players out for 90 minutes when any one of them can make the difference with just half a chance.

If, as it looks like they may do, Obiang or Sanchez leave the club then of course they need to be replaced, but the ideal replacement would be a free agent, a loan or someone for a relatively small transfer fee. In my opinion, we only have room for one defensive minded midfielder in the team now and the worst thing we could do is jeopardise the progress of Rice.

I could be wrong, and we may take this approach this season and find that Rice alone is not enough to cope when opposition do attack, but I’d much rather lose trying to win.

By Jack Farrell (@myWHUopinion)



By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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