West Ham have made a promising start to the season with the majority of the new recruits hitting the ground running, but they could find themselves a little short on numbers come January.
With the African Cup of Nations scheduled to be held between 17 January and 8 February 2015, the Hammers are set to lose Senegal pair Chiekhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho, plus Cameroon midfielder Alex Song.
These three players have been particularly influential in the opening stages of the campaign and have been pivotal to the impressive form that Sam Allardyce’s side has displayed. The Irons boss, therefore, may want to fill the void left by the African stars during the January transfer window.
Financial fair play
While he might need a couple of extra additions, co-chairman David Sullivan has hinted in the Evening Standard this week how it is unlikely the club will be spending any more money.
“We cannot go above the wage limit under the Financial Fair Play rules,” he revealed. “So even if we want to sign players in January, we cannot sign someone unless someone leaves as those are the rules.
“There might be a deal that is too good to refuse that we can do if we’ve done a new commercial deal. There is an exception to every rule but we’re not looking to sign five loan players that cost us £5-6 million like last season.”
It would seem the Hammers will have to cope with the loss of the three players for the three weeks of the tournament, unless it is in fact postponed due to a plea from the Moroccan government over fears of the Ebola outbreak.
It is still expected to go ahead, though, so West Ham will have to deal with the absence of their stars. They can only bring in new players if they are to sell some of their own, although Sullivan is adamant the club has the squad depth to cope.
“I’m hoping we don’t have to do any (transfer business). We’re right up against our wage cap and this is the best squad we’ve ever had in terms of depth and quality. It’s a tall order but I’m hoping we will have 30 points at the halfway stage. That means realistically you can’t be relegated and we can throw everything at the FA Cup.”
Winston Reid’s contract is up in the summer and as he is yet to put pen to paper over a new deal, the Hammers could be forced to sell in January to avoid the risk of losing him for nothing. Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal are all reportedly keen on the defender.
If sold, Allardyce would have the funds and the go-ahead from the board to bring in a quality replacement. Highly rated VfB Stuttgart defender Antonio Rudiger, who was a subject of interest earlier in the summer, could be a potential alternative although West Ham will have to fend off a lot of high profile competition.
Andy Carroll is another who has been at the centre of a lot of speculation recently, with Newcastle United being linked with a move for the frontman. However it is understood the Hammers have no intention of selling their record signing, especially as they are set to lose Sakho to the African Cup of Nations.