Why West Ham would be wise to drop their interest in Birger Meling
Nothing came to fruition back then but with Meling’s contract at Rosenborg set to expire next summer, West Ham are apparently keen to prise the highly-rated left-back away from his homeland for the first time in his professional career.
Birger Meling spent 13 years in the youth ranks of Viking before departing for Middlesbrough in 2013 but he returned to his homeland just a year after and turned professional with Stabaek, where he went on to spend three seasons prior to his move to Norwegian giants Rosenborg in February 2017.
The 24-year-old has accumulated a tally of 4 goals and 19 assists in 120 appearances for Rosenborg in all competitions over the course of the last three seasons, earning rave reviews for his well-rounded attributes as a modern-day attacking full-back.
Meling, who has 10 caps for Norway at the senior level, also boasts of a wealth of Champions League and Europa League experience, and with his contract at Rosenborg set to expire next summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him complete a move to more competitive surroundings.
However, the real question here is if West Ham really need to bring in another left-back when they already have the likes of Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku. Secondly, is there enough evidence to prove that Birger Meling would be a substantial upgrade on the club’s existing defensive options?
The fans might be divided in their opinion as far as the first question is concerned, given that both Masuaku and Cresswell have had their fair share of blemishes over the years.
However, it is worth mentioning over here that both left-backs have put pen to paper on long-term deals in recent times, which is a clear indication of the fact that they are rated by current manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Indeed, Meling has made eyeballs turn with his consistently impressive performances in his homeland, but the Norwegian top-flight is way behind the Premier League, both in terms of intensity and the level of competition.
Though the Norwegian international is a really talented left-back in the right age bracket for West Ham, the Hammers would be better off avoiding a move for him, given that he is yet to prove his credentials outside of his homeland.
Besides the fact that bringing in Birger Meling would be a big gamble that may or may not pay off, West Ham have several other areas of their squad that require immediate attention, for instance, the right-back department where Pablo Zabaleta is nearing the end of his career as a professional footballer.
Moreover, the lack of a top-quality holding midfielder has also come back to haunt the team on several occasions, with Declan Rice the only stable option. Mark Noble is very much in the autumn of his career while Carlos Sanchez, who is out of contract next summer, is also very much a player in the same bracket.
The failure of Pablo Fornals to make an impact in East London is likely to cause Pellegrini some serious problems in the coming months. Suffice to say, the Hammers need to turn their attention to other areas of their squad if they are really ambitious enough to break the top-six lock.
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That said, West Ham would be better off dropping their interest in Birger Meling, even if it means acquiring his services for free next summer. And if they are really keen to bring in upgrades on the likes of Masuaku and Cresswell, they might as well consider removing at least one of them off their books first.