The transfer window may be closed but West Ham United could still look to the free agent market.

If the 5-0 drubbing dished out by Manchester City at West Ham on Saturday confirmed one thing, it is that Hammers fans know what they are talking about.

All summer West Ham supporters have made it clear the club needed to recruit new fullbacks and another defensive midfielder.

A lack of serious investment – West Ham’s net spend was around £35million this summer – meant those problem positions went ignored.

Photo by James Williamson AMA Getty Images

City expose weaknesses fans feared

And who better to ruthlessly expose the weaknesses than the rich and rampant reigning Premier League champions on the opening day.

Aaron Cresswell gave more ammunition to the growing belief among fans he will never get back to the quick, evergreen swashbuckling left-back with a wonderful delivery that won their hearts – and a couple of England caps – before a serious knee injury in the 2016/17 season.

Arthur Masuaku has been handed a curious five-year deal with two-year option. That’s despite being widely regarded by a large section of fans as being a complete liability defensively.

On the other side the ageing Pablo Zabaleta is into the final season of his football career.


The man with the shirt at rightback is Ryan Fredericks. But the nervous performer has never made the position his own.

Photo by Nicolò Campo LightRocket via Getty Images

Can’t ignore Ignazio

Youngster Ben Johnson is waiting in the wings.

But Pellegrini could give himself a much-needed option for both flanks by dipping into the free agent market for AC Milan legend Ignazio Abate.

Once one of the quickest players in Europe, Abate is renowned for his stamina, quick sprints and ability to make attacking runs down the flanks.

The 32-year-old is past his prime and has been released by Milan after more than 300 appearances over 10 years.

Abate is said to be biding his time before deciding his next challenge.

Photo by Marco Canoniero LightRocket via Getty Images

Low risk, much needed

He would be a low risk signing for Pellegrini. And Abate would give the Hammers some much-needed experienced quality at fullback.

Wages would not be a problem after a clearing of the decks at West Ham over the summer.

A one-year deal would suit both parties. And there is the added bonus that Abate could fill in at centre-back too as he has done for Milan and Italy on occasion during a fine career.

Have something to tell us about this article?