West Ham will soon embark on a landmark season at the London Stadium.
Not only are the Irons going to be competing in the Europa League for the first time since 2016 but it’ll also be the last time we’ll see club legend Mark Noble in the claret and blue.
Back in March this year, the 34-year-old midfielder confirmed he would pull the curtain down on an 18-year career in East London after signing a final one-year extension to his current £50k-per-week contract.
Noble has featured over 500 times for the club, which sees him rank amongst the top ten of the club’s all-time appearances makers. That, combined with the fact he’s been the captain for several years, means he’ll be a very hard man to replace.
Do West Ham need to sign a midfielder this summer?
Despite being restricted to only eight league starts last campaign, the Englishman is still reportedly a major influence in the dressing room. That makes David Moyes’ task to find a viable successor a very hard one.
A new central midfield signing is certainly going to be down the list of priorities, too.
It’s no secret that West Ham need a new striker to provide the perfect foil to Michail Antonio, whilst a permanent return for Jesse Lingard will also be desired.
However, there’s one name that the Hammers have been linked to that fits the bill as potentially Moyes’ dream replacement – Nahitan Nandez.
The East Londoners face stiff competition for his signature, though.
Premier League rivals Leeds United have been heavily mooted with interest but Moyes has an ace up his sleeve over Marcelo Bielsa in the fact that he can offer the Cagliari star European football.
Nandez was a stern presence in midfield throughout the 2020/21 season – as per SofaScore, he averaged 1.8 tackles and won an impressive 6.1 duels per game, which rates out well in comparison to Noble, who has averaged between 1.5 and 2.1 tackles per match in each of his last four top-flight seasons, via WhoScored.
The 25-year-old, who has been capped 35 times by Uruguay, was given a glowing endorsement this week by Forza Italian Football editor-in-chief Conor Clancy.
During an exclusive interview with This is Futbol, he said:
“I think he’s only about five foot seven, but you wouldn’t know it if you just watched clips of him, he is a little bit of a machine. He’s so powerful but at the same time, has really, really good ball control.”
It’s thought that Nandez would be available for just €30m (£26m), which on the above evidence, would certainly be great value for money and with the Hammers on the up, this is exactly the sort of signing they need to make to prolong their period at the top.
In the “unstoppable” Nandez, the Irons could get the perfect successor to Noble.
AND in other news, Moyes could sign his next Duncan Ferguson in £30m beast who’s “horrible to play against”…