West Ham United have again broken their transfer record with the signing of Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic for a reported fee of around £20 million potentially rising to £25 million. He became West Ham’s third summer signing after following Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart to the London Stadium, with Javier Hernandez agreeing to move to West Ham pending a medical on Monday morning.
Here is West Ham United’s potential strongest XI when fully fit.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
This position almost picked itself. Joe Hart has already picked up 119 Premier League clean sheets since his debut in the Premier League, after a poor season at Torino only picking up 5 clean sheets in his 36 appearances for the Italian side. However, he is a very vocal goalkeeper that will help the defence and will tell the defence where they are making mistakes, he just edges it into the team in front of Adrian.
Right Back: Pablo Zabaleta
An experienced right back that West Ham have been crying out for since the start 2015-16 season. Zabaleta is a player who is highly rated by many Manchester City fans after making over 230 appearances in 9 years for Manchester City he is an outspoken professional and some fans have already seen that if one of his team mates aren’t making enough effort he will make sure they know about it. Pablo Zabaleta is a clear winner over Sam Byram who is still very inexperienced to be the first team right back.
Centre Back: Winston Reid
One of West Ham’s longest serving players and one of their most consistent defenders in recent times, he always puts his body on the line to stop attackers and help the team. He is always the one who tracks back and puts in the last-ditch challenge. He also popped up with an important last minute winner against Sunderland with a long-range effort. Reid averaged at 81% pass accuracy over the last season as a defender, tied with fellow defender Angelo Ogbonna. Compared to James Collins he has been more influential in the last year due to him being a more vocal point in the team and becoming a more pivotal point in the team.
Centre Back: Angelo Ogbonna
Since joining West Ham in 2015 he has become a player who is surely one of the first names on the team sheets with his consistent performances and composed passing. He played half of last season with an injury because he wanted to help the team as much as he could. He won 60% of his aerial duels in the games he played in compared to Jose Fonte who only reached 56% of his aerial duels.
Left Back: Arthur Masuaku
A hard choice to leave Aaron Cresswell out, however, Masuaku just edges the choice. After having a poor start to the season he started to show how good he was in the final few games of the season. Cresswell was on a poor run of form and he was handed the chance and managed to create 6 chances with a pass accuracy of 88%. The formation change helped Masuaku show off his ability and his attacking intent.
Defensive Midfielder: Pedro Obiang
Pedro Obiang had a difficult first season barely being given the chance to play, however, when given the chance to play this season Obiang could showcase his ability with a variety of passing styles as well as great tackling to break up counter attacks. His season was cut short due to injury so hopefully this season he will stay injury free and be able to help the defence. He marginally beats Mark Noble to the position with both players liking to slow the game down, however, Obiang’s assist to Andy Carroll’s goal against Southampton showed he has the vision to be able to play difficult balls.
Defensive Midfield: Cheikhou Kouyate
Kouyate showed how versatile he can be by playing centre back and right back as well as his main position in midfield. Kouyate managed on average 6 defensive duties a game compared to Mark Noble’s average of 2 in each game. Cheikhou also showcases his ability to be able to push forward and turn defence into attack quickly. He shows the amount of strength he has by tracking back and being able to “out strength” most attacking players.
Right Midfield: Michail Antonio
Last seasons ‘Hammer of the Year’ is a very fast and direct player who managed to create 31 chances last season as well as scoring 9 goals and finishing the season top goal scorer. He beats Robert Snodgrass to the position because he makes more of an impact during games and can be a danger in the area from set pieces.
Attacking Midfield: Manuel Lanzini
Lanzini is somebody that will make a real difference next season, since the exit of Dimitri Payet he has been able to flourish and show the fans and the manager what he is able to produce. Manuel Lanzini finished the season with 8 goals and an average pass accuracy of 87%, he managed to also create 56 chances, more than any of his teammates. With a stronger squad and a better striker this year Manuel Lanzini should be given the freedom to show off his ability.
Left Midfielder: Marko Arnautovic
West Ham’s new record transfer comes off a season where he was a real difference for Premier League rivals Stoke City. He managed to score 6 goals and create 50 chances for his teammates last season. He is known to try and take on chances by himself which could be an advantage for West Ham with some players being afraid to shoot. He will also look to be a danger in the area from set pieces using his height to his advantage. He just edged it into the team in front of Andre Ayew due to the fact Ayew only managed to create 15 chances for his teammates in his first season.
Striker: Javier Hernandez
Javier Hernandez is included into the team due to the two clubs making an agreement with his medical pending. Hernandez finished the Bundesliga season with 11 goals to his name which is 2 more than West Hams top goal scorer Michail Antonio. Hernandez will bring speed, movement and goals to West Ham. He is known to run in behind defences and trouble the keeper when going through 1-on-1. He just edges it past Andy Carroll due to the fact he is a more clinical striker and will be able to change games with link up play with Manuel Lanzini.
All statistics from Squawka.com