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West Ham United’s summer went from dull to the most exciting, over the last week or so. The Hammers were very much silent after their acquisition of defender Pablo Zabaleta on a free transfer, after the Argentine was released by Manchester City.
However, Slaven Bilic’s side suddenly burst into life over the past week as they completed the capture of goalkeeper Joe Hart on loan from Manchester City and followed it up with the club record signing of Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City. They then brought in Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen as well.
This flurry of activity from the Hammers prompted Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho to name them as a challenger for the Premier League title come next season. While that might not be realistic, West Ham can definitely hope to compete for a European spot next season with the quality of squad that they have at their disposal currently. But they will need a few more additions to their ranks in order to do so and here we take a look at two players that would help the East Londoners make a concrete challenge for European spots.
A centre-back may not be on top of the priority list for West Ham, but Bilic should definitely consider bringing in a new defender ahead of the new season. There are enough options for the Hammers in Winston Reid, Jose Fonte, James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna. But Collins and Fonte will be turning 34 in a few months’ time and Ogbonna will be returning from a long-term injury as well.
The 27-year old Abdennour possesses all attributes needed to excel in the Premier League. He is at the right age, has the physical qualities and has proven himself to be a quality defender. The Tunisian international is a leader on the pitch and will add a lot of steel to the backline and could prove to be the ideal replacement for Fonte on the longer run.
As per reports from Italian outlet Tuttomercato, the Hammers have already made an offer for the 24-year old versatile winger and they should do their best to sign him in the summer. Laxalt has the ability to offer so many added options to Bilic with his versatility. Primarily a left-winger, the Uruguayan international can play on the opposite flank, in the centre of the park and even as a left-back too.
Laxalt may not be a prolific goalscorer, but can contribute while going forward and has the ability to defend his flank all by himself. Last season, he was mostly used as a left wing-back by the Serie A side and he performed admirably in the role. With Aaron Cresswell drawing some criticism last season and Arthur Masuaku’s injury troubles, having another player in the ranks who can easily fill in at left-back wouldn’t be the worst thing for West Ham.