Wednesday, 20th March 2019
Should the Hammers look to do a sweep at Craven Cottage during the summer?
Filed: Tuesday, 12th March 2019
Author: Staff Writer #3
Attentions are slowly beginning to turn to the summer as the season meanders its way towards May.
For West Ham, there isnít a great deal to play for after defeat to Wimbledon deprived the club of any cup football and, really, itís all about the team becoming more consistent in the closing stages so that they can hit the ground running at the start of the 2019/2020 season.
With so little going on on the field, fans and pundits have begun to look at who West Ham should sign in the summer. Manuel Pellegrini will naturally have drawn up a provisional list of players he thinks will make the Hammers better but it would be interesting to know whether the 65-year-old has the intention of trying to sign any Fulham players.
Signing players from a relegated side often brings about quite a mixed reaction from fans, with the more suspicious often questioning quite how they can be considered good players if they have been relegated?
The thing is, though, one size doesnít fit all when it comes to players and their direct impact on their club's relegation. There are some decent footballers at Craven Cottage and itís hard to see a player like Andre Schurrle being prepared to make the Tuesday night trip to Rotherham next season to play in front of eight thousand fans.
There was talk that the 2014 World Cup winner wanted to leave Fulham if they were indeed relegated, but he has now refuted that claim. It's all smoke and mirrors at this stage and you canít read into those comments too much, given Schurrle may be waiting for mathematical confirmation of their relegation before issuing a 'come and get me' plea to Premier League clubs.
So, can we say for sure that the Cottagers are Championship-bound? Pretty much so, yes. The last throw of the dice came when Ranieri was sacked and former Hammer Scott Parker was introduced as interim manager.
They needed an instant bounce under Parker, but not everyone was convinced they would get it with Chelsea first up. In fact, the pros at betconnect looked at this fixture and concluded in their best football tips that Fulham would lose, which would spell disaster for the clubís bid to survive. When the final whistle blew on the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, it virtually signalled the end of Fulhamís top-flight stay, with the Cottagers unable to stop the rot even after a new manager had taken charge.
At ten points from safety with nine games to go, it looks like that will be all she wrote for Fulham, so it wouldn't be unfair to consider them down already. West Ham fans may be wary of signing a player like Schurrle given that it looks like his career is battling to take off again but, at the end of the day, Borussia Dortmund, who are his parent club, may be willing to cut and run should an offer come in. He currently has another season on loan at Fulham but both parties may decide a parting of ways is the best idea.
If Schurrle is considered too high maintenance and a liability with too much baggage, 18-year-old left winger Ryan Sessegnon is the way to go. Sessegnon is highly rated in the Premier League and is currently stalling on a new deal with Fulham, which suggests that he will be looking to jump ship in the summer. Man United are reportedly preparing a £50million bid for him but it remains to be seen whether Sessegnon will go north or look to stay in the capital.
West Ham can offer these players a fantastic new start under a brilliant manager and, really, any lifeline to stay in the Premier League will be clung onto for dear life by most of the Fulham squad. That could mean the Hammers are able to do do a shrewd bit of business, especially if Fulham are looking to cut costs. Itís an interesting scenario that makes complete sense from a financial and geographical point of view. Pellegrini would surely have considered all of this so don't be surprised to see the Hammers knocking on the door of Craven Cottage in the summer.