West Ham United are famous for taking up the chance to sign players on free transfers even when they are deemed past their best.

There have been too many to mention over the years with only a small minority working out for the Hammers.

For every Pablo Zabaleta there are a few Alvaro Arbeloa, Havard Nordtveit and Jack Wilshere’s.

This season West Ham’s second choice goalkeeper Roberto is doing his best to join the latter on the list of forgettable freebies.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini shipped out 11 players in the summer and signed just six.

And only two of those were signed with a view to competing for a place in the Hammers’ starting XI.

It has left West Ham in a ridiculous situation in terms of squad depth. And that is already evident just a quarter of the way through the season.

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West Ham squad sorely lacking

Dumped out of the Carabao Cup 4-0 by Oxford, West Ham’s promising start in the league has also fizzled out.

Roberto is clearly not up to replacing star man Lukasz Fabianski.

And Pellegrini is just a Declan Rice or Sebastien Haller injury away from a serious problem.

Central midfield is the most crucial area of the pitch. And West Ham already rely too heavily on Rice and ageing captain Mark Noble.

With two months to go until the transfer window opens, Pellegrini’s options are limited.

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Would West Ham welcome Rodwell as this season’s Nasri?

So would West Ham fans welcome the idea of bringing in former Premier League star Jack Rodwell after a proposed shock move to Italian giants Roma fell through this week.

Roma have a midfield injury crisis.

But they decided against signing the former England midfielder following a trial with the club (Sky Sports).

 

The 28-year-old passed a medical and underwent physical tests with the Serie A side last weekend.

So his fitness – as proved during a successful spell with Blackburn last season – does not appear to be an issue.

Some West Ham fans might feel this is the kind of transfer the club should no longer be involved in after the appointment of Pellegrini and director of football Mario Husillos.

But that did not stop the club bringing in Samir Nasri in a similar scenario last season. And the Frenchman was three years Rodwell’s senior.

During his meteoric rise at Everton, Rodwell looked to be the powerful box-to-box midfielder West Ham have been crying out for over the last few years.

His star has faded in dramatic and high-profile fashion since, though.

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Low risk and surely better than Sanchez?

A short-term deal until the end of the season on relatively low wages would represent a low risk for West Ham.

Should Rodwell perform West Ham would have an option in place to extend the contract.

But the real poser for the club is whether such a desperation signing damages West Ham’s reputation.

Only Pellegrini, Husillos and co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold know the answer to that one.

A fit Rodwell would surely be a better back-up option than ageing flop Carlos Sanchez.

And he would count towards the homegrown player quota too in West Ham’s squad too.

So could Rodwell be this season’s Nasri?

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