West Ham have struggled at left-back for a few seasons now.
Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku currently scrap it out for that position. But Cresswell is not the same player he once was and question marks loom over Masuaku’s defending.
Should West Ham have move for a left-back this summer? While some would argue that it was not a priority, a new left-back would definitely have benefited the Hammers this season.
West Ham should have firmed up their interest in Diego Laxalt and brought him to The London Stadium – here’s why.
The transfer story
During the summer window, West Ham were interested in Laxalt. The Genoa left-back would have cost around €20m, as per reports in the Italian media.
As it happened, this move never materialised. the Uruguay international moved to AC Milan instead.
Aaron Cresswell upgrade
Ever since he was injured in pre-season two summers ago, Cresswell has been a shadow of his former self.
The 28-year-old is prone to mistakes and his attacking threat has diminished too.
During the World Cup, Laxalt demonstrated that he could perform defensive and attacking duties from full-back.
The 25-year-old is more than comfortable playing as a left-winger and that showed every time he bombed forward to join the attacks.
He also shackled some very talented right-wingers quite well throughout the tournament and his speed gets him out of trouble.
With Cresswell’s influence on the team not the same as it once was, Laxalt would have been an upgrade on the former Ipswich Town defender.
It would have at least pushed Cresswell to work harder to keep his spot in the squad.
Arthur Masuaku on the wing
West Ham’s other left-back, Masuaku, is a real threat going forward. His pace, dribbling ability and skill make him a handful for defenders.
Signing Laxalt would have allowed West Ham to solely deploy Masuaku as an attacking player.
This is surely where the Frenchman’s career is going to take him and with a player like Laxalt behind him, he has license to attack.
Laxalt in the Premier League
Would Laxalt have adapted to life in the Premier League?
After impressing in the World Cup, there is a fear that this could have been a knee-jerk signing.
West Ham have been guilty of buying players off the back of a major tournament, only for them to turn out to be flops. Enner Valencia and John Pantsil are two examples which spring to mind.
Would it have been wise to splash €20m on Laxalt if the club had not conducted a thorough scout of his abilities before the World Cup?
However, you do feel that Laxalt has the physical ability to cope with the demands of the Premier League.
He does not shy away from a tackle, he is versatile and he can get up and down the left flank.
It would have been worth taking a punt on the 10-cap Uruguayan, who is now entering the prime of his career.