A summer sale is coming but which players will be axed?

Lanzini, Anderson and Yarmolenko look set for the exit door, but could there be others joining them?

As the season approaches its end, thoughts turn to the summer and our potential transfer activity.

But, this year, more so than ever due to the impact that the pandemic has had on club finances, the need to not just bring players in but also move players on is paramount.

The manager has so far impressed me with his recruitment of hungry, team-minded players. But the loss of revenue due to Covid, not to mention the board’s overindulgence on Pellegrini and lack of any discernible transfer policy, means Moyes will need to sell to buy.

The question is; Who will Moyes move on and how will the departing be remembered by Hammers fans?

David Martin and Fabien Balbuena look likely to leave and both will be remembered by fans as good squad members who did their part when called upon.

Neither will raise much capital nor much discourse about whether they should be let go. There are, however, others who may make way, that will stir thoughts of what might have been.

Felipe Anderson, of course, already has one foot out the door. The Brazilian winger, signed from Lazio for £36m in 2018 thrilled and frustrated fans in equal measure.

Capable of scintillating runs, chance creation, and some great goals, he could turn in match-winning performances.
The type of player that could become a real fan favourite for the faithful at the London Stadium.

But many perceived him as lazy – despite statistics showing that he put in his fair share of tackles and ball retrievals – and lacking the fighting spirit required when the chips were down.

Moyes seemingly saw it the same way as the Brazilian’s detractors, preferring to allow Anderson to leave on loan to Porto, rather than rely on him this season.

It is unlikely that he will force his way back into the manager’s plans. If we can find a buyer, the one-time record signing will depart with many wondering what could have been.

Ten goals and eight assists in 63 PL games – a goal contribution every 3.5 games – plus a substantial loss on the fee invested is indicative of potential unfulfilled.

The same could also be said of Andriy Yarmolenko. The Ukrainian International is another expensive import who has just not managed to make the impact his signing promised.

Costing £18m from Borussia Dortmund, he arrived with a reputation as a goal-scoring winger whose career had stalled in Germany following an injury and then losing his place to a combination of Cristian Pulisic and Jadon Sancho.

But far from being a resurrection for the talented forward, his spell at the club has been cursed by injury too, with his promising start to the 2018 campaign curtailed in October by an achilles injury.

He returned the next season, scored some goals, and then tore his abductor muscle which sidelined him until after the Covid induced lockdown.

Comeback number two saw him score the crucial winner against Chelsea that kick-started our survival fight and Moyes seemed willing to accommodate his talents in some way.

This campaign has also been interrupted by injuries. Hindsight can often be a hindrance when assessing players and on the face of it, we signed an injury-prone player who then spent significant time on the treatment table.

But in his career before signing he had missed just 140 days over 12 years. In his three seasons as a Hammer, he has missed 358.

Injuries aside though, like Anderson, he never fully convinced that he was willing to bleed for the shirt in the same way many of the current incumbents do.

And his lack of a right foot frustrated. As with Anderson, we will make a loss on a player who could have delivered so much more.

There would be a temptation to include Manuel Lanzini in the same ‘failed to deliver’ category as Yarmolenko and Anderson.

The midfielder made an outstanding start to his West Ham career as co-creator in chief alongside Dimitri Payet in that 2015/16 season.

None of us had ever heard of the player we were told was known as ‘The Jewel’ in Argentina, before he arrived from Al Jazira Club.

But by the end of his first season fans were convinced that we had unearthed a diamond. Comfortable on the ball, Lanzini can glide past defenders before playing a killer pass.

His habit of popping up with goals against our London rivals (especially Spurs) also helped him win over the faithful.

When Payet downed tools, it was Lanzini who picked up the mantle and became the creative hub for the team. His form was so good that he broke into the Argentina team and looked destined to be involved in the 2018 World Cup.

But he ruptured his ACL and was ruled out for months, forcing him to return home. Sadly, he has struggled to return to the player he was before the injury and looks destined to leave the club in the summer, having fallen behind Fornals, Benrahma, and Bowen in the pecking order.

With over 100 games for the club, of all those that may make way this summer, Lanzini will be the one that fans feel some regret and sorrow over.

But needs must, and if these players can be moved on and replaced with those that fit Moyes’ plan and match the team-first mentality that our recent additions have shown, then they are sacrifices we must be willing to make. 

*Catch Greg on The People’s Pundits podcast (@peoples_pundits) where he talks all things Premier League football.

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