West Ham should reignite their interest in Aaron Long in January
However, a potential deal for the 26-year-old collapsed due to work permit issues and the transfer window passed by without the Hammers signing a recognized centre-back.
Having spent a fortune last summer as a part of a massive squad overhaul upon the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini, West Ham once again made the headlines this term with big-money deals for Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals, whilst youngsters like Albian Ajeti and Goncalo Cardoso also arrived as long-term prospects.
Well, the fans should be reasonably happy with the club’s summer business but West Ham’s failure to bolster their defensive ranks is likely to raise a few eyebrows.
As well as a new centre-back, the Hammers were also linked with a whole lot of defensive midfielders in the summer and it is certainly an area which Pellegrini will need to strengthen in the future.
And the early signs thus far in the ongoing campaign have already indicated that West Ham, despite being well-stocked in the attack, do not have the same kind of depth in their options at the other end of the pitch.
Indeed, lack of depth and quality at the back could prove to be a massive stumbling block in Pellegrini’s pursuit of a European spot this season, as demonstrated by the club’s recent performances against Man City and Watford in the Premier League
With Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna all taking their own sweet time to hit the ground running, the manager has struggled to decide his first-choice centre-back pairing and the Hammers have found themselves in sixes and sevens at the back more often than not.
West Ham’s shambolic defending was one of the main talking points from their 5-0 defeat to Man City in the season-opener and, while that is still excusable against the quality of the reigning champions, it is hard to ignore how poorly the team defended in the game away at Watford.
Suffice to say, West Ham need to bring in a new centre-back in January and, while they might be reluctant to splash the cash after spending heavily over the last 12 months, Pellegrini might as well look at a few cheap and affordable deals in the market.
Agreed, it might be a risky proposition for the Hammers to show confidence in a player who has played his entire career in the MLS, but Long apparently has what it takes to make the step up to the Premier League.
Also, his thrifty release clause is unlikely to make him a big gamble for a club of West Ham’s stature and Long might prove himself to be a massive bargain if he manages to hit the ground running in English football.
Strong in the air and quick across the ground, the 11-cap United States international has carved out a big reputation for himself across the Atlantic, making a total of 112 appearances in all competitions for New York Red Bulls.
Plus, at the ripe age of 26, Long is about to enter his prime years as a centre-back and West Ham’s low-cost gamble could reap rich rewards in the days to come.
Whether or not he would be a massive upgrade on their existing defensive options is something that can be put up for debate but Long would add more depth in central defence, nevertheless.
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Keeping all the aforementioned factors in mind, West Ham should consider reigniting their interest in Aaron Long when the transfer window reopens in January.