When it rains over West Ham United, it pours.
As if things were not bad enough already ahead of the new season, news emerged yesterday that key player Tomas Soucek could miss the opening game against Newcastle because he is self-isolating.
According to the likes of Football London, the West Ham midfielder is currently self-isolating after coming into contact with a member of staff that has tested positive for Covid-19 while away with the Czech Republic national team.
Soucek doubts instantly expose West Ham’s worrying lack of depth
Soucek, who joined the Hammers in a permanent deal from Slavia Prague earlier this summer, is isolating purely as a precaution as he has tested negative for the virus.
That member of staff was reportedly the team’s masseuse. With the incubation period said to be between 5-12 days, it throws Soucek’s availability for the Newcastle game into doubt.
And that instantly exposes West Ham’s horrendous lack of squad depth, before a ball has even been kicked.
It means West Ham will once again go into the season relying heavily on an ageing Mark Noble in central midfield.
Less options than last season
In fact West Ham have even less options than last season in the middle of the park after releasing flop Carlos Sanchez.
Josh Cullen and Conor Coventry could form part of the first team squad this season.
But both are untested at Premier League level.
West Ham’s lack of depth is not just the central midfield department.
The Hammers are short in several areas. Up front David Moyes has just one senior certified striker in Sebastien Haller.
Hammers short in host of key areas
Michail Antonio is Moyes’s only other option to play as a striker after selling Jordan Hugill and Albian Ajeti.
Grady Diangana looked set to form a potentially deadly partnership with Haller.
But he is being sold to West Bromwich Albion to raise funds as West Ham’s hugely unpopular owners David Sullivan and David Gold plead poverty.
Defence, though, is where Moyes has even more concerning problems.
He does not rate Fabian Balbuena and has only Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop as central defensive options.
Declan Rice can play in defence but that would then weaken West Ham’s central midfield department even further.
There are still huge question marks over both left-backs Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku too.
At right-back Ryan Fredericks has been woeful and looks out of his depth in the Premier League.
And while Ben Johnson has impressed, he too is untested over the course of a season in the top flight.
West Ham have a month until the transfer window slams shut on October 5th.