West Ham United have invested a lot in midfield in recent years. While Pablo Fornals has been the only midfield signing this summer, the Hammers had signed the likes of Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez and Samir Nasri last summer. But, all of them struggled with injuries, with Nasri already leaving the club in favour of a move to Anderlecht.
As a result, West Ham are once again shorthanded in the midfield department. And as Mark Noble nears the final phase of his career, the Londoners must find a suitable replacement for the 32-year-old. In this article, we will discuss potential long-term alternatives for Noble West Ham can pursue.
Marko Grujic initially arrived at Liverpool back in 2016, in a €7 million move from Red Star. But, it wasn’t until the 2018/19 campaign, when the Serbian really managed to make his breakthrough, during his loan spell at Hertha Berlin. Indeed, the midfielder was involved in 22 matches for Hertha last season. As a result of his performances, the club from the German capital chose to extend his loan for another season.
A central midfielder by trade, Grujic is known for his competence. He is always willing to close down the opposition, meaning he can complement Declan Rice very well in the West Ham midfield. The 23-year-old also has a knack for scoring goals, having netted five times in the Bundesliga last season. Grujic, therefore, could be a flexible long-term replacement for Noble as West Ham look ahead to the future.
Thomas Delaney is expected to experience a tough season after losing his form during the final phase of last season. As a result, Julian Weigl has now become Lucien Favre’s preferred option in central midfield alongside Axel Witsel. And the German international has been performing really well too, which could potentially phase Delaney out of Favre’s plans.
Therefore, a move away from Dortmund makes sense for the Dane. West Ham, in that regard, could be the ideal destination. His tremendous work-rate, coupled with his tendency to make driving runs into the final third, will add a new dimension to the Hammers’ midfield. Delaney also has a lot of experience at the highest level of football and is unlikely to find any difficulties settling into the Premier League.
It was somewhat surprising to see no Premier League clubs making a move for Jean-Michael Seri this summer. The Ivorian was available following Fulham’s relegation last season. In the end, he moved to Galatasaray in a season-long loan deal.
Seri impressed a lot during his debut campaign in the Premier League, offering a pinch of creativity in an otherwise dire Fulham midfield. The 28-year-old is also quite versatile and can play across the midfield. He is, however, most effective when operating as a central midfielder.
Indeed, Seri’s creative and technical qualities should combine well with Rice’s robust and no-nonsense style of play, making him an ideal target for West Ham next summer.