HomeFeatured ArticlesFour Smart Signings For Hammers to Spend Rice Cash On

Four Smart Signings For Hammers to Spend Rice Cash On

The Post-Declan Rice Era for West Ham

The Departure of Declan Rice

There is a general rule that when you sell your best player, you normally become a worse team. Suggest to any fan base that they sell their best player and they will usually look at you like you have grown a second head, regardless of the logic you can put behind it.

Now, there is some debate over whether Declan Rice was actually West Ham’s best player as Lucas Paqueta certainly has a strong case for that title, but nevertheless, some are taking the sale of Rice to Arsenal very hard and predicting doom and gloom for the Hammers.

Potential for Improvement

In the event that David Moyes gets his way and wastes the money on players like James Ward-Prowse, then those predictions will come to fruition, but it doesn’t have to be that way. West Ham can improve if they spend the money properly, and they have just the man to do it.

Tim Stiedten is the club’s new Technical Director and is one of the best talent spotters in Europe. His track record at Bayer Leverkusen speaks for itself. If he is given control of transfers, West Ham can come out of this transfer window a stronger team than they went into it.

The Hammers don’t just need one addition, they need multiple players in the door.

They have a very good goalkeeper in Alphonse Areola who simply must be made the first-choice goalkeeper this season. Lukas Fabianski is a fine backup but should be no more than that at this stage. Joseph Anang completes the goalkeeping unit. There’s no reason to spend money in this area.

The same is true in central defense. Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Thilo Kehrer, Angelo Ogbonna, and Luizao is a talented and deep group of defenders who offer Moyes the quality and flexibility to play a back four or a back three.

Identifying Problem Areas

Fullback is a different story though, on both sides.

After two impressive seasons at the club, Vladimir Coufal suffered a significant downturn in form last season, and as a soon-to-be 31-year-old that may not be something he bounces back from. Ideally, West Ham should be looking to move the Czech defender on and bring in a replacement, Let’s add a right-back to our list.

At left back there is no smart move outside of a new signing. Aaron Cresswell’s best days are a distant memory and Emerson Palmieri is consistent only in his inconsistency. A new left-back is a must.

As are two starting midfielders, one to replace Rice and the other to push Tomas Soucek into a squad role. The giant Czech has, like his international teammate, suffered a significant decline and struggled to be in any way effective last season.

The Hammers would do well to sign a proper partnership in midfield, players that have interlocking skillsets.

The attack should be fine unless someone leaves. Scamacca should perform much better if he can stay injury-free in year two, and both Antonio and Ings are solid options. Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma, Fornals, and Cornet are five good options for the three spots behind the striker.

Spending Rice’s Transfer Fee Wisely

Right-back, Left-back, and two central midfielders. That needs to be the Hammers’ plan, but who? Well, let’s see if we can spend the inflated fee they received for Rice and make this team better.

Ian Maatsen seems like a perfect fit at left-back. The 21-year-old Dutch defender had an outstanding season last season, helping Burnley secure promotion to the top flight. That came off the back of a very good season on loan at Coventry City.

Maatsen doesn’t count as a homegrown player for the season ahead, but he will for the 24/25 having joined Chelsea from PSV back in 2018. Transfermarkt places his value at around £10mil but a more realistic price for him is probably in the £18-20mil range. For a player of his ability, age, and potential that’s more than fair.

Potential Additions to Strengthen the Team

The Defence

At right-back, we can also find a Dutch defender who would count as a homegrown player and one that Stiedten knows very well. Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen, at age 22, would represent a significant upgrade on what West Ham have been working with in that area.

Having spent nine years in Manchester City’s academy, Frimpong shone at Celtic and has only continued to impress since heading to Germany. Like his fellow Dutchman, he is an immensely exciting attacking fullback who could thrive at West Ham. Transfermarkt places his value at a shade under £35mil but perhaps Stiedten can negotiate that fee down slightly to around the £30mil mark.

To get two outstanding young fullbacks for a combined £50mil would be a great start to improving West Ham as a team, and also put them in a strong position to make decent profits on both players in years to come.

The Midfield

In midfield, the Hammers won’t find a direct Rice replacement, but they shouldn’t be looking for one either. The aim here is to improve the team as a whole, even if the midfield takes a slight step backwards.

Morten Hjulmand of Lecce could prove an ideal fit as a defensive midfield who excels at protecting his defense and making smart decisions in possession. He ranked in the 99th percentile for interceptions and 95th percentile for tackles across Europe’s top five leagues last season and played a vital role in keeping Lecce in Serie A.

Transfermarkt put his value at around £12mil which is probably about right considering who he players for, and would represent a bargain for a 24-year-old with his quality. Hjulmand is a signing West Ham should absolutely be prioritizing this summer.

West Ham managed to extract a total fee of £105mil for Rice and with £62mil committed for Maatsen, Frimpong, and Hjulmand that would leave £43mil. What’s needed is a dynamic, aggressive box-to-box player. The ideal choice would be Amadou Onana, a player the Hammers tried to sign last summer. £43mil is likely not enough to get that deal done but West Ham should try.

If they are unsuccessful they should turn their attentions to Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Manu Kone. The 22-year-old is tailor-made for the Premier League and would fit perfectly next to Hjulmand. He’s an outstanding ball-winner, but thrives in transition.

An excellent ball carrier, he has shown significant improvement in the final third over the past 12 months and could develop into a goalscoring box-to-box midfield. Gladbach are open to a sale but want a good price for him. £40mil would likely get the job done.

Conclusion

Ian Maatsen, Jeremie Frimpong, Morten Hjulmand and Manu Kone may not excite West Ham fans in the way Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca did last summer, but they should. They would help take this team to a new level.

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