Hammer Pete’s Picks:
Newcastle United and US National Team
Anyone who watched the US Team’s run in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil can remember Yedlin flying up and down the pitch on the right side, with speed to burn, launching crosses into the box.
Tottenham was certainly impressed, as they signed him from Seattle (and the MLS) after the tournament was over. Stuck behind established England international Kyle Walker, Yedlin never saw much playing time in north London. He was shipped out on loan to Sunderland, where he helped keep the team in the Premier League and was signed by Newcastle for a cut-price deal of £5 million this past summer.
While Newcastle are flying high in the Championship, surely a return to top flight football plus a return to London can help convince the American to sign for West Ham. His defending has gotten better since crossing the Atlantic, and with his pace and offensive ability, he would be easily be able to play a wing-back role if Bilić decides to stick with the three at the back formation that has featured for the past few weeks.
Having someone to come in and be able to play the wing-back role will also allow Michail Antonio to push forward on the wing and put one of the Hammers best offensive threats up the pitch.
While Hunt’s time at Palace wasn’t as fruitful as he might have wanted, he has helped stabilize the back line at Wednesday as they made a promotion push last season, and has been a key part of the team as they are on another promotion push this year, battling to stay in the play-off spots.
While not as physically gifted as Yedlin, Hunt has proven he can deliver results in the physical Championship. While a Hunt signing may not be the most glamorous signing that West Ham can pull off, a dependable defender may be just what the Hammers need to stay up.
Andy Kostka’s Picks:
Chelsea and Serbian National Team
Ivanović is out of favor in west London, and the Hammers could see a cut-price deal prove valuable to stave off relegation. The Serbian international started the season off well, but since then has fallen out of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s plans. In the past eight Premier League matches, the right back has played a total of 23 minutes as he saw out three Chelsea victories.
Bringing in the 32-year-old Ivanović on loan or a short-term deal only buys time for the Hammers, he is not long term option. But buying time could be what West Ham and Sam Byram need. The 23-year-old English full back has struggled staying in the squad since his move to east London due to various injuries and suspensions.
Ivanović made a name for himself as an attacking fullback, but this season he has not had the same forward impact. Still, defensively, he has won 57% of duels this season and has an 83% passing accuracy.
The move is somewhat of a gamble for Bilic, and the Croation manager may not have many gambles left to make in his tenure as he attempts to pull West Ham out of a relegation battle. The free signing of former Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa was a gamble that has not paid off. The Spaniard did not make a case for himself as he replaced the injured James Collins in the opening minutes of Arsenal’s 5-1 rout of the Hammers.
The Hammers could dip into the Championship for a couple of options, and Bacuna could be one. The Curacao-international full back has the attacking ability that could be useful if Bilic sticks with a wingback formation. The 25-year-old has missed the last month for Aston Villa with a groin injury, a trait the Hammers could do without, as both Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio missed Saturday’s match with one.
Bacuna, born in Holland, has created nine chances in 10 appearances. For all his attacking worth, Bilic may shy away from Bacuna as the full back must develop defensively to be a real impact player in West Ham’s already leaky defense. Bacuna wins on average 38% of his duels, and has earned five yellow cards on top of his 23 fouls committed.
West Ham already has Byram to develop into a Premier League full back. In a relegation scrap, Bilic needs a more sure defender to keep the Hammers up.
Bacuna has expressed interest to leave Aston Villa, but is not in a hurry to do so. “Within the next two years, I try to make my next step," Bacuna told Dutch broadcaster NOS in March.
"What it's going to be, I do not know at this time. But I want to grow in two years. It does not necessarily have to be in England."
With Villa in 15th place in the Championship, Bacuna could be interested in a move sooner rather than later, and West Ham could swoop in for an unsettled player at a reduced price.
Jonny Liebling’s Picks:
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Every time I start a new career in FIFA 17, I bring in Dominic Iorfa. Does that mean West Ham United should cough up the €7 million to bring him in? Yes, actually. In fact, West Ham have been linked to this prospect for a few months now. He’s strong, fast, and has pace up and down the wing. Think Michail Antonio but with some technical ability. The best part is he’s looking to get out of the Championship for the big stage. Iorfa is a regular on the U-21 England team and believes he is ready to take his game to the next level.
Rumors have been swirling around the newly owned Wolves that they are finally set to start unloading their highly praised talent. That talent also includes former West Ham product, Kortney Hause, who has made nine appearances this year with the U-21 English team.
Hammers better be ready to compete against Southampton for the young defender as their scouts have been seen regularly at Wolves home games. However, Bilic is said to be keen on the youngster and it makes sense from all angles. Iorfa hails from Southend and wants to move towards London.
Heart of Midlothian F.C. (Hearts)
Callum is another London product who had to work for his first team football. To give you an idea of the buzz around this kid, for his next match against Rangers, there will be a rumored TEN Premier League clubs looking at Callum. The 22 year old Scottish international has been a sensational back for a few years now, mostly at the club level. The advantage here is that Paterson’s contract with Hearts is up at the end of the year and he is free to sign with any club come January. It is because of his eligibility to sign with a new club that his transfer fee has been marketed a bit lower than his actual value. The rumored price tag on Callum is roughly €5 million, however, clubs estimate they could grab him up for €1 million.
Watford have been the biggest name associated with Callum. Given Watford’s eye for talent, this young right-back should be getting some serious looks. The price tag is right, the player is keen, there should be no reason not to swoop in and give him a chance. The young star of the Scottish Premiership is weighing his options and a move to London could be exactly what’s on the agenda.