Manuel Pellegrini has turned the corner with his West Ham side as they have gradually pulled themselves up the Premiership table and are currently sitting in 13th and looking upwards with a series of games ahead against bottom half clubs.
However, as yesterday's stuttering performance against Huddersfield demonstrated, the Hammers are already suffering from squad depletion with a host of casualties that includes Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez and Manuel Lanzini. Mark Noble's foolish red card against Leicester cost the Hammers two points on the day and watching yesterday it was clear that the Hammers were missing his experience in midfield to kickstart their misfiring engine room.
Pellegrini will surely be looking at potential recruits in the January transfer window as both Yarmolenko and Sanchez are out for the rest of the season, while Wilshire's past history suggests that his availability is generally a bonus rather than something to expect.
Aaron Ramsey - Ramsey has a lot of mileage on the clock for a 27 year old with many feeling that he needs a fresh start away from Arsenal to rekindle his fire. as his relationship with Unai Henry has dwindled, a host of European clubs have been watching with Roma the latest would be suitors. His clever movement and close control would make him an ideal recruit for the Pellegrini way and with his contract soon coming to an end he will be an attractive option and the opportunity to lead a new era at London's fastest growing club would likely be attractive to the Welsh talisman.
Danny Drinkwater - Drinkwater's £35 million move to Chelsea has been a disaster for him. Having won the Premiership with Leicester and broken into the England team with a MOTM debut, he has fallen almost entirely off the radar under Maurizio Sarri. At 28years old he should be in his footballing prime but is wasting away in the Chelsea reserves! Although he has over 3 years to run on his current contract, Clearly it is time to move on but the signing fee is likely to be substantial. Moreover, his 100k per week wages are a major concern, especially since it has never been fully clear to what extent his brilliance during the Leicester season was linked to his partner in midfield, N'Golo Kante!
Mousa Dembele - Dembele at his best is exactly the kind of energetic ball controlling midfielder that the Hammers need just now. He has slipped down the pecking order at Chelsea and has only a matter of months to run on his current contract with rumours of a high profile switch to Italy or perhaps a luctrative move to the Chinese Super League in the offing. However, since 2016 Dembele has been dogged by injury troubles and has had to fly out to Qatar to receive treatment for his latest ankle injury picked up at the weekend. In reality, the Hammers are likely to pass on an aging and injury-prone player like Dembele.
Ruben Loftus Cheek - Loftus Cheek looked all set to push for the heights after the World Cup but things have gone quiet at Chelsea where he has only three appearances this season. At 22 years old and with the versatility to play in midfield or further forward, Loftus Cheek is a real prospect. A host of Premiership rivals are said to be watching his situation closely, including Crystal Palace where he enjoyed an impressive loan period last year. Loftus Cheek's contract runs until 2021 but none the less January looks set to bring new pastures - either on loan again or as a permanent transfer. With Andriy Yarmolenko out until next season and Michail Antonio misfiring, you can readily see how Loftus Cheek could slot into the right side of West Ham's midfield where he can compete with young Grady Diangana for game time!
As we write it looks like Samir Nasri may be joining his old boss at West Ham which represents a major gamble for the club as Nasri is returning from a foolish doping ban and at 31 years old may struggle to show the same athleticism that made him such a force for Arsenal and Man City in the past.