West Ham United‘s preparations for the new season have taken a hit following the recent injury to summer signing, Nayef Aguerd.
What’s the word?
As per respected journalist Roshane Thomas, it is not yet known when the Moroccan international will be fit to return to action, having recently undergone successful ankle surgery after limping off in the 3-1, pre-season defeat to Scottish Premiership giants, Rangers last week.
Will West Ham beat Man City next week?
Yes, total faith
Writing on Twitter about that setback, the West Ham correspondent stated:
“No timeframe on how long Nayef Aguerd will be sidelined. Huge blow for #WHUFC and losing their summer signing to injury could force Moyes to alter his formation ahead of season opener against Manchester City.”
In his attached piece for The Athletic, Thomas reveals that that ankle issue for the 26-year-old could well see manager David Moyes deploy an alternative system for the season opener against Manchester City next weekend, having initially viewed the former Stade Rennais man and Frenchman Kurt Zouma as his ‘preferred defensive pairing’ for the new campaign.
Moyes will be gutted
After the initial joy of managing to get the one-time Dijon man through the door last month – with the defender joining on a £30m deal – Moyes will now be tearing his hair out at the prospect of having to be without the 6 foot 2 gem heading into the upcoming season.
Seeing a summer arrival pick up an injury before even playing a competitive fixture is a real unwanted headache for any manager, with the former Manchester United boss now set to have to rethink his approach ahead of that clash with the champions on 7 August, should Aguerd not recover in time.
The 59-year-old does have the ever-reliable Craig Dawson to call upon – as well as both Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop – as possible replacements in the heart of the defence, although that trio perhaps lack the quality of the new incoming.
In Ligue 1 last term, Aguerd enjoyed a hugely impressive campaign as Rennes secured a commendable fourth-place finish, notably averaging four clearances, 0.9 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per game from his 31 league starts, recording a solid ten clean sheets and winning 65% of his aerial duels.
A formidable, imposing presence, the £10.8m-rated man is also a smooth operator with the ball at his feet, ranking in the top 10% for attempted passes and the top 16% for pass completion among those in his position across Europe’s big five leagues.
That quality had caught the attention of those at the London Stadium, although it would appear that supporters will have to wait a little while longer to see the 19-cap colossus truly make his mark in English football.
As for Moyes, well it’s back to the drawing board with just over a week to go until the 2022/23 campaign gets underway – far from an ideal scenario.