At their best, Mark Noble and Declan Rice form a formidable defensive midfield partnership. However, at 32 years old, Noble does not have the recovery powers that he once had, while neither player is blessed with exceptional speed. With Jack Wilshere persistently on the medical bench, and Carlos Sanchez vying for the most inexplicable West Ham signing of the past decade, David Moyes will need reinforcements if he is to enforce his high energy, pressing game on opponents.
There has been lots of speculation as to who the Hammers might be chasing, including Joe Allen, Franck Kessie and Stanislav Lobotka all suggested as raising the interest of the Hammers management as they look for a box to box player to add energy to our midfield. Moyes has indicated a preference for a younger player.
Other reports suggest that the Hammers may be in for Genk's Norwegian colossus, 21 year old Sander Berge. Berge has set the Belgian Superligue alight and is an immense presence in midfield for such a youngster - combatative and with excellent close control and a good turn of pace. At 6ft 5 inches he would add much needed height to the Hammers setpiece set up - an area that Moyes plans to focus upon as it has been an area of definite weakness for the Hammers this season to date. Berge is thought to be available for around £20 million.
Manchester United appear to be a major competitor for Fernandes, while Liverpool have a longstanding interest in Berge. However, in both cases the lure of first team football at a rising club may be more attractive than sitting on the bench hoping for opportunities as a substitute or in the often insipid cup competitions.