West Ham United’s failure to strengthen their defensive midfield options was brutally exposed in the season opener against Manchester City.
West Ham fans had been calling all summer for the club to sign a quality defensive midfielder to play alongside Declan Rice.
The Hammers were linked with a host of players for the role.
West Ham’s defensive midfield issue
From Fabian Delph to Gary Medel, Erick Pulgar, Santiago Ascacibar and even Tottenham outcast Victor Wanyama (ExWHUemployee) it seemed a new defensive midfielder was high on Pellegrini’s agenda.
But when the window slammed shut last Thursday, ageing flop Carlos Sanchez remained the sole back-up for Rice in one of the most important positions on the team.
Champions City brutally exposed the glaringly obvious weakness in a sobering 5-0 drubbing.
Out of contract international could fit the bill
So should West Ham act fast and snap up out of contract Serbian defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja to fill the void?
At 26, Radoja is a good age and not your usual profile of player to find himself without a club post transfer window.
He has spent his career so far playing in his homeland and with a club Hammers fans know well from the summer, Celta Vigo.
In his five seasons with Celta, Radoja was a regular in four of them.
Worth the gamble for Pellegrini?
He spent much of last season on the sidelines through injury, though. And financially struggling Celta elected not to offer him a new deal.
At his age Radoja’s best years could be ahead of him. On a free and presumably lower than usual wages, the risk for West Ham would be relatively low.
If the midfielder, who has two caps for his country, can prove his fitness it would give Pellegrini another option in central midfield where supporters believe anything is surely better than Sanchez.