Welcome to Overtime’s Winter Transfer Solutions for the 2022 January transfer window. Our club reporters will use the latest statistics to suggest two key players each club should break the bank for. Will Steward looks at West Ham United below.
When asked what West Ham need most in the window, their lack of depth upfront and in central defence is most definitely the first thing that comes to mind. While Antonio started the season on fire, his form of late has been somewhat patchy and it’s important to consider that the Jamaican International is very injury prone and so his minutes must be managed. A long-term injury to stalwarts Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna, along with the ageing profile of Craig Dawson, leaves the Hammers somewhat short at the back. So, a young rotating striker option and a centre half ready to contribute.
Striker- Amine Gouiri
The French U21 international has more than replicated his form following his breakout last season, with the tricky forward boasting nine goals and five assists in 17 starts(with three sub appearances) this season for OGC Nice. Moreover his 7.32 average rating is very impressive and is the seventh best in the league, one behind a certain Lionel Messi, highlighting the forwards consistency. The ex-Lyon man also boasts extremely strong underlying statistics. His 0.52 expected goals p/90 would be the seventh best in the Premier league this season in players who have played over 1000 minutes and is 0.04 better then the aforementioned Antonio- though it does have to be considered that Ligue has to be considered a weaker league than Englands top flight. Also, the forwards expected goals (8.93) is practically level with his goals scored this season (9), thus showing Nice’s star man is a proficient finisher. While a decent height at 5″10 his slight build means he cant pin and turn players like Antonio, perhaps meaning he is not suited to the lone striker role that West Ham play, though his exceptional dribbling ability means he can hold a ball up and look after it and bring others into play. Another strength with the forward is that he is comfortable playing off of the left wing, meaning he can also pick up minutes there. French football was hit hard during the pandemic so he is probably going to be available in around the £25-30 million pound mark.
Centre-back- Nico Schlotterbeck
After a successful loan spell at Union Berlin last season, the imposing centre half has hit the ground running in the first half of the season for parent club Freiburg. The centre backs 7.37 average match rating is the best among centre defenders in the Bundesliga and 10th overall. This highlights how complete the German U21 internationals game is, as to score a good match rating you have to do all parts of the game well. Moreover, his defensive ability is shown by the fact that Freiburg are the fourth best defensive team in the league according to expected goals against, at 26.64. Something that has to be considered however, is that at a 79.6% success rate his passing game is somewhat weak, giving that ball away on every fifth pass. However, it is important to note that he is asked to play long balls regally for Freiburg, meaning these numbers could be slightly skewed and would improve if he were to be asked to play a shorter simpler game. Moreover, standing at 6’3 the centre half is a massive threat from set pieces, something West Ham win a lot of. This is highlighted in the defenders 1.24 shots p/90 and 0.12 xG/90 both of which are very impressive for a central defender. At just 22 Schlotterbeck has massive room to improve and, partnered with Kurt Zouma when he comes back form injury, could certainly be part of a team that can compete for and in Europes premier compertition- the Champions League. Another drawback is cost; the German centre half would probably cost around the £40m mark, which may b e out of the Hammers reach, however if they are serious bout Champions League qualification this is the signing they have got to make.