Friday, June 2, 2023

Can This Experienced Premier League Defender Solve West Ham United’s Defensive Problems?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

Although West Ham United have more than proved that they don’t need Dimitri Payet to win matches, Bilic is left now with the biggest concern of all, which is bolstering the squad in the right areas.

While midfield and attack still have enough firepower to cause problems up front, it is the defence that Bilic should be concerned about. The Hammers have conceded 35 goals so far, which is by no means good for a team who are aiming a top half finish.

They are currently 12th in the League and the points gap with the teams above them is minuscule. And a recovery in the second half of the season after a disastrous first half campaign is very much possible if Bilic manages to make a remarkable turnaround. However, most defenders in the Hammers squad are either injured or have just returned from long or short spells of injury.

While Crystal Palace were a comparatively easy opponent, Bilic would definitely find his defenders out of the pace against tougher opponents. Sam Byram has returned from a hamstring injury, Reece Oxford from his ankle injury and James Collins from his serious hamstring injury.

Bilic is still without Doneil Henry with a crucial ligament injury, Arthur Masuaku with a knee injury and Alvaro Arbeloa with a leg injury. The centre half’s position has been a real puzzle for Bilic this season. He has experimented with three at the back and sometimes four and neither have been very much successful.

Despite having Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna in that position, Bilic seems to miss a seasoned and experienced figure to partner them and keep the goal safe and guarded against bigger opponents. Their search for an experienced enforcer has also taken them to former Manchester United player Patrice Evra, but nothing has materialised so far.


According to Daily Mail, the Hammers are plotting move for Everton’s old head Phil Jagielka. The 34-year-old has fallen down the pecking order in Everton, below Ramiro Funes Mori, who now partners Ashley Williams as the centre-halves. Ronald Koeman has been seen using Mason Holgate as the possible third option in recent weeks and Jagielka’s playing time at Goodison Park is seemingly up.

The Sheffield United youth product joined Everton in 2007 and has been in the club since then. Jagielka has played a whopping 583 matches in English football, scoring 34 goals in all his career. And something says Bilic would, at last, find his calm, composed and assuring figure in the English centre-half.

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