West Ham should look to sign one central midfielder in the January transfer window. This is because their current injury concerns leave them light in that department.

Pellegrini’s system

Manuel Pellegrini has recently switched to a 4-3-3 formation. He has packed the midfield with three central midfielders and this has worked to good effect.

Declan Rice sits as the holding midfielder and Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang operate just ahead of him.

Pellegrini will want to continue using this system but he is one injury away from being forced into a change.

Injury problems

Jack Wilshere has had surgery after injuring his ankle in training. (photo by John Patrick Fletcher/Action plus via Getty Images)

Three central midfielders are currently out injured for West Ham. Manuel Lanzini has been out since the start of the season.

The Argentina international suffered an ACL injury just before the World Cup and he will miss most of this season.

He has been joined on the sidelines by two summer signings. Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez are also out injured.

Wilshere’s return date is unknown and Sanchez looks like he could be out for a lengthy period.

This leaves West Ham with very little depth in that department. If Rice, Noble or Obiang gets injured, Pellegrini does not have a fit central midfielder in his senior squad to call upon.


Next in line would probably be Conor Coventry. But the teenager only recently made his debut against Macclesfield Town and the jump to first-team level is sizeable.

The other option is Reece Oxford, but Pellegrini does not seem too keen on the England youth international.

An injury to Rice, Noble or Obiang would probably mean a change in formation.

Potential targets

Joao Mario impressed at West Ham but is not favoured at Inter Milan. (Photo by Claudio Villa – Inter/Inter via Getty Images)

West Ham should definitely be looking at a short-term fix in this department but who could come in?

The most sensible solution would be a loan signing as you would expect Lanzini and Wilshere to be working their way back to full fitness towards the end of the season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Danny Drinkwater from Chelsea could be an option. An alternative is to re-sign Joao Mario on loan from Inter Milan after his successful stint at The London Stadium last season.

There are bound to be central midfielders who are not getting game time at big clubs.

They will want a loan move to further their career and Pellegrini could reap the short-term benefits of that.

Have something to tell us about this article?