West Ham: David Moyes ready to dip into transfer market to keep season on track

In charge: David Moyes (AP)
In charge: David Moyes (AP)

David Moyes has admitted he could be forced into the January transfer market to stop West Ham’s fine season being derailed by call-ups to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Hammers are certain to lose first-team regulars Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd, whose countries - Ghana and Morocco, respectively - will expect to go deep into the tournament. Players who reach the final in the Ivory Coast on February 11 will have been out of club action for more than a month.

Said Benrahma (Algeria) and Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast) could also both earn call-ups and while neither have been first-choice picks at West Ham this term, both would otherwise be candidates to deputise for Kudus.

Depth at centre-back without Aguerd will also be a concern for Moyes, who saw Konstantinos Mavropanos make a costly error to gift Crystal Palace a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Mohammed Kudus has been one of West Ham's best performers this season (REUTERS)
Mohammed Kudus has been one of West Ham's best performers this season (REUTERS)

The situation is further complicated by the fact that West Ham are willing to listen to offers for several fringe players in January, including Pablo Fornals, but could risk leaving themselves light on bodies in the short-term.

“It might do,” Moyes said, when asked whether the tournament would affect next month’s recruitment. “We might need to look at things depending on who will get called up. We know two key players, Mo and Nayef, will be nailed on to go into our country. They are two players starting in our XI so that alters things a wee bit.

“I’ve got a bit of work to do to check which games they’ll exactly miss. We might have them for the Brighton game on January 2 but I need to see where it goes after that.”

African football chiefs have previously made plans to move the tournament to a summer window in order to align with the European club season and the upcoming edition was originally due to be played in June and July last year.

That plan, however, was shelved because of the Ivory Coast’s rainy season and despite the disruption to his plans, Moyes says he would never ask one of his players not to join up with their country.

“We have got the Euros in the summer and wouldn’t expect any players to not go to that competition so we are certainly not going to tell any of the African players not to go,” the Scot added. “We are saying to them we want them to play for their countries. Our bigger thing is that’s is just a terrible time of the year for the best leagues in Europe, where so many of the best African players play their football.”