‘We were short at the back even with Kehrer – now we must buy’

Fans were worried about our defence and now we're even more fearful we’ll struggle without fresh legs

Vladimir Coufal (WHU) at the Aston Villa v West Ham United EPL match, at Villa Park, Birmingham, UK on August 28, 2022.

On the surface, we look like we are well stocked with centre backs at West Ham, but I’m not sure that’s actually the case. I had a discussion with a fellow supporter at the start of the season about our centre back situation where I was adamant we needed another one, but my friend said we had enough.

As we hit the January transfer window and with AFCON about to start, I think we can safely say, we do need to carefully look at our options. Kurt Zouma is probably our best centre back, and our Captain, but has iffy knees and can’t realistically play more than a game a week.

You wonder how long his knees will hold out, and when he will pick up another serious injury. Rumours were that the only reason Chelsea let him go was that his knee could go any time. As for Dinos Mavrapanos, he’s beginning to show flashes of the good player Steiden clearly thinks he is. I can see Dinos tying down one of the centre back positions for years to come.

At 35 years old, Angelo Ogbonna may have seen better days, although as we have seen recently, he can still step up to the plate when needed. He clearly loves the club, and is a huge presence in the changing room and on the training pitch. Whether he can continue to play at this level beyond this season, remains to be seen.

Nayef Aguerd can be a Rolls Royce of a player, but can also look like an old-school Skoda on occasions. He cost a lot of money, and is he proving to be a £30 million player? He was greeted with much gleeful chin-rubbing from the football hipsters – a ball-playing centre back who can tackle and score the odd goal too.

He’s now clocked up 50 games for West Ham, but just can’t seem to iron the errors out of his game. This is a huge shame for me, as he can be a fantastic player, for both club and country. We saw how good he was when he helped Morocco reach the semi-final of the World Cup back in 2022. He’s now en route to AFCON, and word is that he will be sold, if we can get north of £30 million for him.

I’m not sure what the point of selling him in January would be, as we are constantly told how hard it is to buy players in January, and we would definitely need a replacement. Current rumours include Eric Dier and Joe Worrall, neither of which would be as good as Aguerd, but possibly less ‘fancy’, and a better fit for Moyes.

I think Moyes is clearly on the lookout for a ‘traditional’ centre back. It wasn’t that long ago that he was desperate to bring Harry Maguire in. Thilo Kehrer was another player I liked, but Moyes didn’t appear to and now he’s gone out on loan to Monaco.

He never nailed down a starting spot. He won the French league three times with PSG and played 27 times for his country, Germany, so he’s clearly no mug. But, similar to Maxwell Cornet, and others, he didn’t seem to fit into Moyes’ team.

He could make his loan move to France permanent in a deal of around £10 million this summer, which seems cheap for him, and I can see him doing very well back in France. Losing Kehrer in January means we definitely need at least one centre back in this window.

We have been told we need to sell to buy so we will have to see whether we end up with a loan or a permanent signing. I can see Moyes looking at someone like Dier, but would Spurs deal with us? As mentioned, Worrall is another possibility – we have been linked before, and Moyes clearly likes him.

Will Steiden have some more aces up his sleeve though? I can see a few changes at the back in January, and if we don’t bring in one or two, we may struggle in this position for the rest of the season.

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