Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

Experienced defender Angelo Ogbonna continues to be a key player for West Ham United and it looks set to stay that way.

West Ham splashed nearly £30 million on a new central defensive pairing in the summer.

Manuel Pellegrini brought in brilliant young Issa Diop for a club record fee for a defender.

Experienced Paraguayan international Fabian Balbuena was also brought in.

The pair forged an impressive partnership with their attributes complementing each other well.

Meanwhile Italian international Ogbonna was forced to wait patiently on the sidelines.

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Ogbonna an unsung Hammers hero?

Ogbonna has been a key player for the Hammers over the years.

He was a central figure as the club finished just four points off the Champions League places in the final season at the Boleyn Ground.

The former Juventus man then selflessly and secretly played on through a potentially career-threatening knee injury until West Ham were all but safe during their troubled first season at the London Stadium when they few other alternatives.

And now he has stepped in at a crucial stage of the season after Balbuena picked up an injury.

 

Ogbonna looked understandably rusty at first.

But he has been getting stronger with each game.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

Good news for Pellegrini…

So it was a worry for the Hammers when Ogbonna was linked with both Roma and Bologna recently.

There is good news for Pellegrini, though, after a new report claimed he has rejected the chance to return home.

Sky Sports Italia claims Bologna were serious about the centre-back and put forward an offer.

But the report states Ogbonna ‘has no intention of leaving the Hammers especially not for a team sitting in the Serie A relegation zone’.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

…and Declan Rice

Losing Ogbonna would have left West Ham short. Pellegrini does have Declan Rice to call on in his natural position.

But the 19-year-old has been so good in central midfield he has become the fulcrum of the West Ham side.

So Pellegrini would be loathe to see him move back into defence.

As a result Ogbonna staying is good news all round.

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