David Moyes is facing a major selection dilemma after West Ham United completed a Domestic Deadline Day deal to lure Brentford winger Said Benrahma to the London Stadium.
The Irons announced the capture of Benrahma on an initial season-long loan late on Friday evening, after the Algerian’s proposed permanent switch was thrown into doubt after issues arose from the first stage of his medical.
West Ham resumed talks with Brentford after the potential hurdle arose and managed to reach an agreement on new terms that sees the Irons pay a £5million loan fee, but with a £20m obligation to make the move permanent next summer.
Brentford will also be owed a further £5m in possible add-ons for the 25-year-old who scored 17 goals and penned nine assists in the Championship last season, following on from his remarkable involvement in 28 goals (11 scored, 17 assisted) across all competitions during his debut campaign the year prior.
Yet despite his top-tier hit-rate, Benrahma is not necessarily guaranteed to walk straight into Moyes’ plans after West Ham strove to a 4-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers and beat Leicester City 3-0 last time out.
So, with that in mind, here’s a predicted XI Moyes could look to deploy in order to utilise Benrahma and his current crop in east London…
The major selection dilemma facing Moyes going forward will be whether or not Benrahma walks straight into the starting line-up, or if the Algerian must first wait for one of the current incumbents to suffer a drop in form and require replacing.
If Moyes favours the instant start option, Benrahma would be expected to take over the left-wing role currently being occupied by Pablo Fornals.
The Spaniard has started each of the Hammers’ opening four Premier League fixtures in the role and entered the October international break as the east London side’s joint-top creator with two assists. Benrahma, meanwhile, recorded all of his 17 goals and 11 assists from left-wing for Brentford last term.
Fornals could always move into a more central role and play in behind striker Michail Antonio, having made 14 of his 39 appearances last season in the centre of the Irons midfield, where the £71,558-per-week ace also recorded three of his five assists and one of his two goals.
However, in moving Fornals into an attacking midfield role, Moyes would be obliged to change the shape of his West Ham plans that led to the victories over Wolves and Leicester, having recently favoured a five-man defence with two holding midfielders and two wingers supporting Antonio in attack.
Moving from three centre-halves to just two would likely also force Moyes into choosing between Aaron Cresswell or Arthur Masuaku at left-back, given the former has recently been called on to play at centre-half in the absence of Issa Diop following his positive test for coronavirus.
Moyes’ decision is not that straight-forward, either, as by moving to a 4-2-3-1 with Benrahma on the left, he could leave Cresswell exposed if the £5.85m-rated man returns to his natural left-back slot.
Cresswell has only managed to win two-thirds of his attempted tackles when played at left-back this season, while also failing to record any interceptions, one clearance, blocked zero crosses and misplaced seven of his eight attempted long passes, per WhoScored.
Benrahma would not be expected to contribute vastly in defence given his offensive output, meaning one of Declan Rice or Tomas Soucek must accept a covering role in midfield to aid Cresswell and avoid the 30-year-old being left vulnerable on the left if Moyes favours a 4-2-3-1.
AND in other news, West Ham potentially saved £16m in being snubbed by a summer target.
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