Here’s six free agents West Ham could still sign alongside Jesse Lingard before submitting their squad to the Premier League.
Whenever a transfer window closes there are always a number of players out of contract and looking for a new club.
West Ham know only too well as they are now very seriously considering signing one of them in the shape of Jesse Lingard. You can read the latest from the manager on the Lingard situation here.
A decision is due on that soon with West Ham and their top flight rivals usually required to submit their final 25-man squads to the Premier League in the week to 10 days after the closure of the summer transfer window.
Deadline day passed without the Hammers adding to their superb four additions. Lingard may become the fifth.
Six free agents West Ham could still sign alongside Jesse Lingard before submitting their squad to the Premier League
But as supporters who have followed the window closely will know, West Ham do actually have one more spot remaining for a non homegrown player in the squad too.
So while it is highly unlikely any other free agents will be looked at by David Moyes other than Lingard, let’s take a look at who is available.
Because there are some surprisingly big names out there.
Here’s six free agents West Ham could still sign alongside Lingard before submitting their Premier League squad.
Remember this is just a bit of fun, we’re not suggesting these players are better options than turning to our academy stars by any stretch of the imagination.
But we’ve picked out what we think are the top six available out of contract stars – at the time of writing – who would be the most realistic and/or worth a look for the Hammers if Moyes was desperate for one more body in the door before handing that squad sheet in.
At just 25, Axel Tuanzebe surely had plenty more to give in a career that was once filled with great promise. The former Manchester United defender has actually been linked with West Ham in the past.
After loan spells at Aston Villa, Napoli and Stoke, the former England Under 21 international is without a club. He has endured injury problems and would need to perhaps be considered on a contract which saw him paid only when fit and available for selection.
Although Tuanzebe’s preferred position is at centre-back, he could be a handy addition for the Hammers as he can also play as a right-back and has even featured as a holding midfielder. Coming through Man United’s academy, Tuanzebe counts as a homegrown player too.
West Ham are well stocked for midfielders now. But talented former Watford and Juventus star Roberto Pereyra is currently unemployed following the expiration of his contract with Serie A side Udinese.
The Uruguayan is only 32 and has unreal talent on the ball. He is also a set-piece specialist. He could prove great back-up for the likes of Lucas Paqueta and James Ward-Prowse, even if he was only used in the cups and some European games.
Former Portugal Under-20 international Xeka is another who should still have some good years ahead of him. He signed a one-year deal with Rennes last season but-only played eight games and has been released.
Xeka was on Valencia’s books as a young player and again would be purely as back-up. He would, it must be said, represent a risky option given he is recovering from ankle surgery. But on a pay when available deal, there’s a lot worse out there. Although most Hammers fans would, justifiably, prefer to give on of the club’s academy stars a chance instead.
Undoubtedly the star name on the list of available free agents – and someone who has actually been linked with West Ham in the past – is Eden Hazard.
Clearly a highly unlikely Moyes signing given the fact his attitude and lack of application have been cited as the reasons behind his fall from grace.
Released by Real Madrid, there were rumours the 32-year-old could retire.
But reports claim the man once regarded as one of the world’s best players is being eyed by Celtic and clubs in Saudi and MLS.
West Ham desperately tried to sign a striker before the summer transfer window closed. They didn’t manage it and many fans feel that could prove to be a mistake amid another 50-game plus season. Although Moyes will feel he has options with Jarrod Bowen, Mohammed Kudus and – if he joins – Lingard in his squad.
But in terms of a like-for-like replacement for Michail Antonio, free agent Stefano Okaka is an interesting emergency option. The former Watford hitman has been an Italy international but is without a team aged 34 after leaving Istanbul Basaksehir.
He possesses power and pace and is one shy of 100 professional goals.
West Ham have been linked with a move for ex Rangers star Alfredo Morelos in every window since Moyes returned to the club in 2020. So let’s not break that tradition. The hot-headed Colombian is another big name on the free agent list after leaving Rangers following the expiration of his contract.
At 27 he too should still have some of his best years ahead of him. Morelos is Rangers’ all-time leading European goalscorer and has notched 176 times in in 356 career matches. Again he has that power and pace. And when he’s in the mood Morelos has a great work ethic, never giving defenders a minute’s peace – like Antonio.
He is nearly seven years Antonio’s junior too. The problem is he’s been heavily linked with a move to Santos so West Ham would need to act fast.
Notable other free agents as of September 4th 2023
David de Gea, Phil Jones, Sergio Ramos, Stefan Jovetic.