WEST HAM are poised for a busy summer in the transfer market as Manuel Pellegrini continues working to shape his squad in his image.
An overhaul of the striker department is anticipated, a central midfielder is required, while a number of fringe players will be offloaded.
Pellegrini does not have a £100m budget to work with like he did last summer, so he will need to be selective with essential signings who will seriously strengthen the side.
Another important matter to focus on in the close season, though, is the contract situations with some players.
Andy Carroll and Adrian’s deals expire next month, freeing up around £150,000-a-week on the wage bill.
Meanwhile, Samir Nasri is also unlikely to see his short-term contract worth £80,000-a-week renewed.
Their exits will provide a major boost to Pellegrini not only for new additions but improving and extending deals of current stars who really do have a future at the London Stadium.
Off the back of West Ham’s 10th-place finish, Starsport has identified five members of the current first-team squad who the club should be looking at holding fresh talks with soon.
The Premier League summer transfer window opens this week, and at West Ham, news has emerged that:
- Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been urged to try and sign Declan Rice
- West Ham have had a £24m bid ‘accepted’ for Flamengo midfielder Gustavo Cuellar
- Isaac Hayden confirms he wants Newcastle exit with West Ham and Brighton keen on £20m star
Manuel Lanzini (2020)
West Ham have six players who have 12 months remaining on their current contracts.
The likelihood is, though, that few of those will stay for the 2020/21 campaign with the Hammers in a strong position at present regarding their most important players.
Javier Hernandez could be sold this summer, while Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez are not expected to receive any extensions beyond next year.
Robert Snodgrass, 32 in September, will have his position assessed as the season progresses, and Arthur Masuaku has only just truly regained his place at left-back so may be rewarded with a new deal yet.
Crucially, though, playmaker and No.10 Manuel Lanzini is the club’s current priority given the Argentina international could be lost on a free transfer next year.
The 26-year-old missed the bulk of this season with an ACL injury which forced him to miss the 2018 World Cup, but he is back in the picture and scored in West Ham’s final Premier League – a 4-1 win at Watford.
On his day, Lanzini is West Ham’s most creative player, a top dribbler and offers a real threat in attack, so it is no surprise talks are ongoing at present over extending his contract and securing his future in east London.
Lanzini is not one of West Ham’s highest earners either on a modest £70,000-a-week for someone of his quality, so it remains to be seen if fresh terms can be ironed out swiftly.
Fabian Balbuena (2021)
One of Pellegrini’s most reliable performers and underrated players this season was Fabian Balbuena.
The Paraguay international centre-half, 27, settled in quickly to life in the Premier League following his somewhat understated £3.5m summer arrival from Corinthians.
He formed a formidable partnership with fellow new addition and French star Issa Diop, 22.
An injury to Balbuena’s left knee just before Christmas disrupted his season, but his return to Pellegrini’s backline in the final six games saw West Ham tighten up at the back.
Rival clubs could begin to take notice of ‘The General’s’ influence in the West Ham defence, and with his current pay packet worth a mere £40,000-a-week, a bump up and an extension beyond 2021 is a no-brainer for club chiefs.
“Antonio is a real favourite among fans when he’s playing at his peak”
Michail Antonio (2021)
Michail Antonio appeared to have no real future at West Ham at the start of the season.
Injury and fitness problems last term saw the powerful £70,000-a-week winger become a shadow of his former self.
Crystal Palace were linked with a £15m move and fans were pleading for the 2017 Hammer of the Year to be offloaded.
But Pellegrini got the 29-year-old back in shape, back focused and brought the best side of Antonio back as the campaign progressed.
By the end of the season, Antonio was being utilised as a forward again up alongside Marko Arnautovic and showing just how much of a handful he can be, most notably in how he tormented Tottenham in their 1-0 away win.
Antonio is a real favourite among fans when he’s playing at his peak, and with only two years left to run on his deal, there looks like there is still plenty left in the tank of West Ham’s strong attacker, and he certainly offers them an x-factor like Andy Carroll used to going forward.
Lukasz Fabianski (2021)
West Ham’s Hammer of the Year needs little reasoning behind his long-term future being secured.
The Poland international optimises professionalism and proved to be West Ham’s most important summer signing last year at £7m.
It was clear to supporters quickly why in a relegated Swansea side the shot-stopper had been named their player of the year too.
Fabianski made a Premier League-high 149 saves this term, with West Ham finally having found an assured No.1 for the first time since Robert Green’s days in goal at Upton Park.
The 34-year-old ex-Arsenal man is only getting better with age, and while he will be 36 when his current deal expires, adding another year or two to the £65,000-a-week keeper’s deal would be totally justified at present, even if he were to become a back-up down the line.
Felipe Anderson (2022)
The final player who West Ham should be looking at regarding their contract is £42m record signing Felipe Anderson.
The Brazil winger – Pellegrini’s first-choice target last summer when he arrived as manager – enjoyed a solid first year in English football.
No West Ham player made more appearances in all competitions than Anderson’s 40 as he netted nine goals and registered four assists.
His work-rate improved dramatically at the beginning too as Pellegrini quickly got through to him how his defensive duties were just as significant.
PSG and Real Madrid have been credited with interest in Anderson as a back-up option to current targets, showing how highly the signing from Lazio is regarded in Europe.
The 26-year-old has indicated, though, he sees his future at West Ham and wants to become a club legend, showing no signs he could replicate the likes of Dimitri Payet and force his way out.
Anderson’s future is more or less secure at present – he signed a four-year contract last summer worth around £100,000-a-week.
But ensuring no clubs come sniffing around soon and showing faith in the No.8 forming part of the core to lead West Ham forward in the coming years by extending his stay further would be a smart move.
Diop, Declan Rice and Anderson are seen as the three under Pellegrini who the club must build around for the foreseeable future.