Hammers' Squad Depth: Cause For Concern? 
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on as his side compete in the PL Asia Trophy
(PHOTO: Serena Taylor/Getty Images)

Despite the marquee summer signings of Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller, limited options in certain areas may hamper the Hammers' challenge for a top-seven finish. 

The summer-spending total currently stands at just over £60m with Manuel Pellegrini opting for quality over quantity.

Although the previously mentioned acquisitions will bring an immediate improvement to the starting lineup, a repeat of last season's injury crisis could highlight the lack of depth within the squad.

Limited Options

Following the departure of Marko Arnautovic, West Ham made a statement signing by securing the services of Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported fee of £45m. 

However, with both Lucas Perez and Andy Carroll no longer at the club, and Jordan Hugill set to leave before the end of the transfer window, the only recognised alternative to the Frenchman is Javier Hernandez.

The depth is similarly thin in the defensive midfield area with Pedro Obiang's imminent departure leaving Declan Rice and captain Mark Noble as the only competent 'holding' options. 

Carlos Sanchez, a member of Colombia's 2018 World Cup squad, is also a defensive-minded midfielder, however his performances since arriving in East London last Summer have left fans desiring a replacement.

The final area that may need strengthening is at left-back. Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell have both competed for the position in recent years, however inconsistent performances have meant that neither has managed to nail down the spot.

Solving the problem

With only two recognised options per each of the three respective areas mentioned, and limited remaining funds to seek reinforcements in the transfer market, Pellegrini may opt to deploy players out of position, or look to the academy, if injuries do occur. 

In attack, it is likely that Pellegrini will play winger Michail Antonio in a more central role to compensate for the lack of strikers.

The 2016/17 Hammer of the Year managed six goals last season, but will be looking to increase his tally this time round if he is asked to lead the forward line.

Alternatively, the club may pursue a deal for a free-agent with experienced centre-forwards Mario Balotelli and Fernando Llorente both available after parting ways with Marseille and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.

To bolster options in defensive midfield, an academy product could be promoted to the first-team, with Josh Cullen the most likely to act as an understudy to Rice and Noble.

The 23-year-old spent last season on-loan at Charlton, playing a pivotal role as they won the League 1 play-offs, and he was included in the squad that flew out to China for pre-season. 

An academy graduate might also be the answer at left-back. Ben Johnson made his Premier League debut away at Manchester City in February, and has been involved with the first-team squad ever-since.

He impressed after featuring in both games PL Asia Trophy games, and looks comfortable on the left side of defence despite being a natural right-back.

Time still remains for the club to do business, however rumours suggest that the remaining budget is small, and will be largely-dependent on the number of outgoings.

With loan deals and moves for free-agents the most likely form of transfer activity, it will be interesting to see how the Hammers line up against Manchester City in the first game of the season on the 10th August. 

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