It has been difficult to watch West Ham United over the past few seasons, both on and off the pitch. Ever since the club’s much-touted move to the London Stadium, they have failed to live up to their new posh surroundings, being involved in relegation battles rather than in fights for European spots, which was what their owners dreamed of when making the stadium switch. It has left fans unhappy and alienated, with the atmosphere at the ground being flat, and even hostile at times, and West Ham need an urgent rethink if they are to avoid becoming a perennial relegation candidate every season in the Premier League.
The issues with the stadium move and the fans’ ire have all been well-documented, but there are also major issues with the squad. David Moyes was appointed on a permanent deal to keep West Ham above the relegation zone earlier this season, after Manuel Pellegrini was struggling to get a tune out of the side. This is the Scotsman’s second spell in charge, after he’d stepped in on a short-term deal during the 2017/18 season with a similar remit following Slaven Bilic’s sacking. However, Moyes now needs to see the squad injected with a lot more quality if he is not to become the manager of a perennial relegation-battling team. West Ham have made some big mistakes in the transfer window in recent years, and thus require significant investment to challenge at the right end of the table.
It is ironic how West Ham United’s sponsors are every punter’s favourite Betway, and yet you will find them being one of the favourites for relegation in the odds. The squad has too much deadwood, while it also needs some incoming quality as well. At right-back, for example, Ryan Fredericks is the current first-choice, which tells you all about the squad planning at the London Stadium, with Pablo Zabaleta as his back-up but long since past the level required to play in the Premier League. Highly-rated youngster Jeremy Ngakia chose to leave the club and join relegated Watford instead, although the Hammers have high hopes from Ben Johnson, another young right-back who got an opportunity in the first-team towards the end of the season. Elsewhere, there are serious issues at centre-back, with Issa Diop perhaps being the only one with an upward development curve ahead of him. Declan Rice, who is the crown jewel in West Ham’s squad at the moment, could be on the way to Chelsea soon, which will leave a gaping hole in defensive midfield, while the likes of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko seem to have lost their way on the wings after promising starts to their West Ham careers. Up front, Sebastien Haller has struggled, with little or no support around him. The decision to hand Jack Wilshere a three-year contract continues to mystify, while there are other players as well who need to be shipped out as soon as possible.
West Ham have been a very poorly-run club over the last few years, with shoddy decision-making at all levels. There needs to be a big change in these dynamics in the near future if the club is to not drop down to the Championship imminently.