Five: Hammers Whose Futures Look Uncertain Under New Boss Pellegrini
There was widespread jubilation among West Ham United fans on Tuesday morning as former Premier League title-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini was unveiled as the new man at the helm at London Stadium, but some members of the Hammers squad wouldn’t have welcomed the news so much, those whose futures remain uncertain.
For the Welsh centre-back, who has spent 11 years of his career In Claret & Blue, over two different spells, Pellegrini will offer a last lifeline as his fate now rests in the new boss’ hands.
While reports wrongly accused the club of first letting Collins know that his contract, which runs out this summer, was not being renewed by an email, his deal still isn’t being refreshed.
The ex-Wales International has made over 250 appearances in Claret & Blue, first joining in 2005 and then re-joining in 2012 and is a firm favourite among the Claret & Blue Army, who refer to him as “The Ginger Pele.”
At 34 years of age, many believe that Collins would still have something to offer the East Londoners, should he be given a new would-be short-term contract, although it is being reported that this isn’t likely.
The swift capture of the defender for the next season or two would be a swift way for Pellegrini to get on-side with his fans straight away, but he will have to consider whether the move would be truly worth it and will be taking no passengers in his quest to take West Ham forward.
A player that is still very much in contract in East London, despite endless speculation, is the former Liverpool striker, who, like many others, is being linked with a move away from Stratford.
Carroll’s style of play and role as a target man will not be traditionally suited to Pellegrini’s fluent and slick style of football as he is a gaffer that traditionally likes to keep the football on the ground.
However, what the ex-Liverpool star does bring to the table is a plan b, something that a logical-thinker like the South America may buy into, though one could argue that new signing Jordan Hugill offers a much fresher version of that option.
Unlike Hugill, the former England International only has one-year left on his current deal and there are rumoured to be a number of clubs lining up advances for him.
One thing that certainly won’t play into the hands of the tall forward, who netted three times in the Premier League last season, is his highly injury-prone nature, something that not many are expecting Pellegrini to want to withstand, however, this isn’t the first window that Carroll has headed into looking like he may leave, subsequently, staying each time.
A trend is beginning to develop in this countdown and that is one of the usual suspects, stars that are often in the rumour mill section of newspapers and the Spanish goalkeeper is no different.
The goalkeeping situation at London Stadium has been one that has been much maligned in recent seasons, as for two campaigns in a row, Adrian has been made to fight for the No1 spot, first with Darren Randolph during 2016/2017 and then Manchester City loanee Joe Hart last season.
The ex-Spanish International has been at the club for five years and much like Carroll, the longer it goes before he is offered an extension to the deal he has a year left on, the more speculation will arise.
The ‘keeper is someone Pellegrini may remember from his time in charge of La Liga clubs Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga, sides he was in charge of during the early part of the shot-stopper’s career with Real Betis.
This connection may play into the gloves of the ‘goalie, or, it might work the other way if the 64-year-old comes to the conclusion that a new man is needed, should he allow his former player Hart to return to his parent club, it will be interesting to see how this one develops over the coming months.
Yet another player whose days may now be numbered is the young right-back with a little longer left on his existing contract than other examples here, it runs out in 2020.
The right-sided defensive area is one that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that the Hammers need to invest in, in spite of the excellence of another of Pellegrini’s former stars in Pablo Zabaleta, there last term, starting 35 of 36 league matches.
This position being bolstered could mean the end of a spell in East London that has lasted over two years for the Englishman and has been one of frustration, ravaged by injuries and poor form.
The future looked bright for the 24-year-old when he made his debut against Pellegrini’s City during the 2015/2016 campaign, having been signed from Leeds United, although it has failed to work out for him in the big time.
Byram appears to be in demand with some interesting speculation rearing its head in the last few days, linking him with a switch to any location from Yorkshire to Scotland, namely ex-club Leeds and Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, it will be hard for the veteran of football management to stand in the way of the talented defender leaving.
One starlet even younger than Byram and rounds off this speculative countdown nicely is centre-back and defensive midfielder Oxford, who, out of these teammates, has the longest left on his present deal, three years.
The 19-year-old returned to East London this week from spending most of the season, baaing a few weeks in January this year back with David Moyes’ West Ham, in the Bundesliga on loan.
However, the spell at Borussia Monchengladbach under Dieter Hecking was far from a success, with a series of injuries and non-selection seeing him only make a handful of appearances in 2017/2018.
A number of Europe’s biggest clubs have been reportedly tracking and chasing this youngster ever since he burst onto the scene at the tender age of 16 in August 2016, starting and commanding the midfield in a surprise PL away triumph over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
An offer of going back to Gladbach on a permanent basis is understood to be on the table for Oxford, but whether it is accepted or not will rest heavily on Pellegrini’s policy with youth, he has already stated his desire to help young players progress through the ranks and into the senior set-up, a glimmer of hope for anyone desperate to see him remain in East London.
So, now that you’ve been given a list of West Ham United players whose outlooks are unclear beyond this summer, with the exciting arrival of new boss Pellegrini, do you want any of these Claret & Blue stars to stay or leave? And for what reasons? Find us on twitter @WestHamMatters_ to have your say.