This feels a lot like talking behind the missus’ back. Despite some sporadic bright spots, it hasn’t exactly been a vintage season for the club that brought you Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking, Rio Ferdinand and Carlton Cole. As a result, we’re playing 'Keep or Chuck' with the current squad ahead of the summer break.
Fortune’s Always Hiding so we’re being semi-realistic. Assuming next season is Man United’s “Sherwood year,” there’s a place in the Top Six up for grabs. So, crucially, we’re just not keeping Good Players.
We need players who could do it on a cold night v Astra Giurgiu. If you understand that sentence I can only apologise for the painful memories I have caused you.
Here’s where I’d ruthlessly apply the scalpel to Old Man Pellegrini’s squad this summer.
Lukasz Fabianski - The unflappable Pole will finish the season with comfortably more saves than any other goalie in the whole entire Prem universe. Without a hero behind the gloves, West Ham could easily be duffing about in the Championship next year.
The 34-year-old only started getting regular footie aged 29 so should have a few solid seasons in the tank. And despite constant rumours that Rocky Balboa’s trying to keep him here, the chances of Adriaaaaaaaan slinging his hook in the summer are currently higher than Snoop Dog.
Fans watching other teams play and tweeting ‘Fabianski would have saved that’ has become a highlight of the Digital Age for me. Here’s to several more years of quiet efficiency. KEEP
Issa Diop - He makes our hearts go giddy-up. Hanging onto him should be high up the Dildo Twins’ to-do list after a brilliant first season at CB. Settled in immediately to form a solid partnership first with Balbuena, then with Ogbonna, and at just 22 looks destined for the big time.
You know you’re a scary bastard when Jose Mourinho calls you a monster. KEEP
Arthur Masuaku - Inventor of the ‘luxury left-back’ position, now we’ve got a luxury carpet for him to stroll back down every time he loses the ball.
Despite being a barrel of laughs on the ball, the lad sadly interprets the art of defending on a strictly metaphysical level and has little interest in the practical application of it. As such, he switches off more often than a kettle in Caracas and is easier to skin than a Babybel. CHUCK
Aaron Cresswell - On his day one of the best overlapping full-backs in the League. Sadly that day was in 2016, and he’s been unable to get fit enough to hold down his place. Now 29, even if he gets his legs working again it’s only a matter of time before some serious cashish gets splashed on a new full-back. CHUCK
Pablo Zabaleta - A trademark West Ham signing, his best days are yonks behind him and it won’t be long before he’s back in the Pampas chomping Cohibas in his rocking chair. Despite his creaking knees, has an aura of calm professionalism that is sorely lacking in the squad. Recently penned a new one-year deal. KEEP
Pab-Zab looking forward to getting back into the changing the room and really sullying the vibe with some Status Quo.
Ryan Fredericks - The main reason we’re keeping Zabaleta, the former Spurs(!), Brentford, Millwall(!!) and Fulham man is still relatively untested at this level. His scattergun approach to positioning is counterbalanced by his bullet-pace, so hopefully the 26-year-old will step inside a Telepod with Pablo and emerge, The Fly-style, as a complete full-back. KEEP
Angelo Ogbonna - Regularly has to cover two positions when his left-back goes M.I.A. and generally gets the job done fine. Wish he could pass, but could say the same about all our centre-backs. KEEP
Fabian Balbuena - How we all laughed when Pellegrini signed that French dwarf who got blackmailed over a sex tape a few years back. And how we chuckled when it turned out not to be the former Marseille winger but a towering 27-year-old Paraguayan centre half who had never played outside of South America. Now we’re laughing for a different reason – his £3.5million price tag makes him one of the bargains of the season. A key organiser at the back, we're a worse outfit without him at Diop's side. KEEP
Looks a bit like Jose Fonte, thankfully doesn't play like him.
Winston Reid - Of all the West Ham players ticking like taxi meters in the treatment room, Reid’s 70k a week contract amounts to surge pricing.
The 2013 Hammer of the Year hasn’t played since last March, and would now struggle to rebuild his career at the London Stadium as an optimistic fourth choice. If he’s fit before the summer window closes, it’s sadly time to hoof him off the payroll. CHUCK
Declan Rice - Can’t stand it when an academy player breaks into the first team, smashes the winner against Arsenal, makes his England debut in a 5-0 win and keeps his head together. Where are the floozies, Declan? The Hum-Vees and the Balotelli shlids?
Seriously though, wow. Already a master of the simple things, he’ll only stay if he continues to improve. For that to happen, he could firstly do with some better players to pass to. Clearly destined for the very highest success, we’ll have to manage his contract to keep him for as long as possible, and get a big fat wedge + Busquets when Barcelona come a-knockin’. KEEP
Pedro Obiang - Probably time for him to mosey on now that we’ve found an upgrade in Rice. With 91 Premier League appearances under his belt, let’s hope one of the promoted teams will have a punt on the lanky chugger. CHUCK
Carlos Sanchez - Once told a policeman my name was Carlos Sanchez and got away with it, which goes to show how much of an impact the 33 year old Colombian shithouser has had on the wider collective consciousness. Not for me Clive. CHUCK
Reece Oxford - Once upon a time a 16-year-old Reece Oxford kept Mesut Ozil in his pocket all day alongside his Pokemon cards and fake I.D. Has spent the next four years on loan banging on about it.
Most recent stint at Augsburg has seen him start three Bundesliga games, get sent off in one of them and concede on average of 4 goals per game. Time to cash in before all that ‘potential’ becomes worth a whole 50p in the transfer market. CHUCK
Plenty of promise but has now failed to win the trust of three different managers.
Ben Johnson -
Disgraced sprinter. At 57 years old and with no footballing experience should be nowhere near the first team. Baffling.
Ahem. Talk about being chucked in at the Niagara Falls. When Pellegrini picked the 19-year-old midfielder at left-back at the Etihad for his debut, we thought he was bringing a sausage dog to a knife fight.
Worryingly, Johnson hasn’t played since, but hopefully he can be coaxed back from behind the sofa next season. Only lost 1-0 to a dodgy penalty - it was a good result, Ben! We thought it’d be ten! KEEP
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