Forgotten £17m West Ham man could get a shock chance to prove his worth at centre-back after the Issa Diop injury blow.

West Ham appear to have an injury curse on their left-sided centre-backs this season.

The Hammers lost Angelo Ogbonna to a long-term ACL injury in November.

Kurt Zouma was then out for over a month shortly after that before being ruled out – potentially for the season – following an ankle sprain against Brentford.

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Now David Moyes has been rocked by the news that Diop could miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury picked up against Burnley.

The defensive crisis comes at the worst possible for time for West Ham.

The Irons have their huge Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt looming large over the next two weeks.

And West Ham are also desperate to secure a European spot in the Premier League too.

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Moyes has some options open to him but they all come with huge risk factors.

Declan Rice could drop in at centre-back. But then West Ham would lose so much from the middle of the park.

Young stars Jamal Baptiste and Aji Alese have been in and around the first team and the latter is a left-footed centre-back.

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The pair impressed during a Europa League group game against Dinamo Zagreb. But given their lack of experience, it would represent a major risk for Moyes to suddenly throw either of them in at the deep end.

Another option would be a formation switch with Aaron Cresswell and Ben Johnson coming in either side of Craig Dawson as makeshift centre-backs.

But the situation could also force Moyes’s hand over one player who has barely featured all season long.

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Forgotten £17m West Ham man could get shock chance to prove his worth at centre-back after Issa Diop injury blow

Forgotten £17m West Ham man Alex Kral could get a shock chance to prove his worth at centre-back after the Diop injury blow.

The central midfielder has made just six appearances for West Ham in all competitions since joining on loan from Spartak in the summer with the option to make the move permanent for around £17m.

Three of those appearances have come as a substitute. That has led to speculation West Ham will not be taking up the option to sign Kral permanently.

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In from the cold: Shock chance for Kral in defence?

for It is hardly surprising given he is up against Rice and Tomas Soucek for a place in West Ham’s midfield.

But the forgotten man could get a shock chance in central defence given the terrible news about Diop.

Because the curly-haired star has played at centre-back on occasion for Slavia Prague, Spartak Moscow and the Czech Republic.

Using Kral at centre-back would enable Moyes to stick with four at the back while also keeping Rice in midfield.

It remains to be seen whether Moyes will try Kral in that position. But West Ham fans may get a few answers over the manager’s thinking by the choices the Scot makes for the trip to Chelsea this Sunday.


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