The Ex Files: Reinforcements needed if we are to enjoy successful European campaign

Competition for Antonio and back-up midfielders key if we want to push on next season

Michail Antonio (WHU) at the EPL match West Ham United v Burnley, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th January, 2021. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

We are on the brink of Europe in the league and from a personal point of view, I am absolutely delighted. The thought of European football and potential exciting away days really does excite me.

I want us to qualify, however, there is the notion that our squad is not able to cope with the demands of the tournament because it does not have enough depth.

Therefore I am going to write this article assuming we have qualified for Europe and what I would like us to do to give us a chance for another good season.

The first position where we certainly need to recruit is in the forward position. We all know that Antonio’s hamstrings are made from string. He is always a sprint away from pulling it again and being out a further two months.

It is essential in my eyes we buy at least two forwards. I would like one to be a serious challenger to Antonio in our first team.

One player who appears to be available, although potentially out of our price range, is Tammy Abraham of Chelsea. I would really like us to sign him because he has already proven in the English league that he can score and at international level too.

I think his type of game would work within our system. If he is not achievable, then I would look at Toney of Brentford who has a great goals to game ratio, and I would like to think he could transfer that over to us, ideally we would sign two.

My second forward signing would be perhaps a young lower division forward, either domestically or from abroad who has something to prove and it would be a step up to join us. I do not want to see a journeyman forward on large wages who has nothing to prove for example.

I think we need to sign at least two central midfielders. I will include Jesse Lingard in this as we play him through the middle. I think it is essential we put everything into converting his loan deal to a permanent one.

I think we may be able to persuade Manchester United to let him go for around £15m-£20m and we have to make sure we sign him as his impact has been phenomenal since her has been with us.

I also think we need another defensive midfielder. As we already know, next season our club legend midfielder Mark Noble will leave the club.

This means we are seriously light in this defensive midfield position. I don’t think whoever we sign will be able to challenge Rice and Soucek.

Conor Coventry is a superb player who has come through the academy and I believe he could do a job for us. With all of these potential games in Europe ahead of us, we will need more than just the one.

Craig Dawson triggered a permanent move to us after the Wolves game, I believe for a combined loan and permanent fee of £3m.

This is a great signing and one that means we do not need to look at the defenders too much in my eyes because you have good competition for all positions in the back line.

There is the debate we need to sign a left back because between Cresswell, Masuaku and Johnson any of them are not the correct solution.

Fabianski signed a new one year contract recently but his age means that could be his last season. I am not convinced Randolph has the ability to move up and be the first team ‘keeper either although I do like him as a backup goalkeeper.

Whilst we have three very highly-rated young keepers in Trott, Anang and Hegyi, are they ready enough to be our first team ‘keeper?

Personally I would like to see us go for either Sam Johnstone of WBA or Nick Pope of Burnley.

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