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Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

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Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.

West Ham’s Carroll, Reid face three months out injured

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LONDON — West Ham pair Andy Carroll and Winston Reid have suffered setbacks in their recovery from injuries and face three more months out.

Former England striker Carroll and New Zealand defender Reid returned to London from a preseason training camp in Switzerland to undergo follow-up operations on injuries suffered last season.

“Andy played and scored in Sunday’s match (against FC Winterthur) but is still reporting some discomfort in his ankle and further scans have revealed that he requires some minor surgery to provide more strength and stability to the area,” Richard Collinge, head of the club’s medical department, said on the club website on Thursday.

“Winston has been suffering some swelling around the knee injury that he sustained at Swansea last season and he too is in need of explorative surgery to clean up the area.

“We have decided that this is the best course of action to ensure that both players have a chance of returning to full fitness as soon as possible.”

Manager Manuel Pellegrini said that in the absence of the senior pair, the club will look to add players to the five they have already signed in this offseason.

West Ham sign Andriy Yarmolenko

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West Ham’s impressive rebuild under Manuel Pellegrini continues.

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Ukrainian star Andriy Yarmolenko is the latest to join Pellegrini’s revolution at the London Stadium, with the striker arriving from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth $23.1 million and signing a four-year contract.

Yarmolenko, 28, has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and he arrives after just one season with Dortmund in the Bundesliga. He scored six times in 26 games in all competitions for the German giants in 2017/18 before heading to the Hammers.

He previously spent his entire career with Dynamo Kiev, scoring 137 goals in 341 games despite playing as a wide forward for most of his career. He also has 35 goals in 77 games for Ukraine.

Speaking about his move to east London, Yarmolenko had the following to say.

“Of course, I am very happy to sign for West Ham United. West Ham is a big club with good fans and I am happy to come to play in the Premier League,” Yarmolenko said. “The Premier League is the best league in the world and I know that an interesting project is being built here at West Ham. The team wants to achieve high things and I am excited for this challenge.”

Yarmolenko alongside Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic and Andy Carroll certainly gives West Ham plenty of attacking options, even if Manuel Lanzini will miss a big chunk of the season through injury and Michail Antonio is rumored to be on his way out.

Pellegrini has already added Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks this summer to significantly strengthen West Ham’s squad ahead of his first season in charge. Arnautovic and Yarmolenko seem particularly well-suited to playing with each other, as both love to surge forward with powerful runs and can finish when given an opportunity.

This is what West Ham’s fans can expect to see from Yarmolenko, who loves to cut inside from either flank and can also be deployed centrally.

Jack Wilshere joins West Ham United

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Jack Wilshere has signed for West Ham United, the club he supported as a boy.

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Wilshere, 26, left Arsenal on July 1 after his contract expired and he failed to agree a new deal, and he’s now made the move across London to sign with the Hammers on a three-year deal.

The creative midfielder has been at Arsenal his entire career after graduating from their academy and making his pro debut at the age of 16, but he has been seriously hampered by injuries in recent seasons and lost his place in the England squad as a result of those struggles.

Speaking to West Ham about his move to the London Stadium, here’s what Wilshere had to say as he joins the club his father and brother support.

“It feels good, it feels special. Many people know that I’ve had a special bond with this club growing up,” Wilshere explained. “People will have seen the picture of me in a West Ham shirt and I’ve got good memories of my childhood supporting West Ham, watching them at Upton Park. It feels good and of course my family and a few of my friends are West Ham fans so everyone’s buzzing.”

Wilshere went on to explain that Manuel Pellegrini becoming the new West Ham manager was a key part of his decision to join them, while the pull of playing at the London Stadium was another.

“The fans, of course – everyone knows how big West Ham’s fanbase is – and especially in this new Stadium,” Wilshere said. “Not many clubs could fill it week in, week out, and West Ham do. I want to be playing here in front of the Hammers, and my bond I’ve had with the Club over my childhood will make it even more special.”

Wilshere’s career now has the opportunity to get back on track as he will undoubtedly be West Ham’s go-to guy in central midfield. What that means for players such as Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate remains to be seen but Wilshere will play regularly, as long as he’s fit, and his class on the ball is undoubted.

Even last season he showed flashes of brilliance for Arsenal as he worked his way back to full-fitness and with a host of clubs lined up to sign him, Wilshere has chosen to remain in London and in the Premier League.

Entering the prime of his career, he now has the perfect chance to become a hero at West Ham and prove to Arsenal what they’re missing. With 34 England caps to his name, he will be aiming to get back into Gareth Southgate‘s squad but first and foremost he needs to stay fit.

If he does that and replicates his best form, West Ham have a great chance of challenging for a European spot this season.

Report: West Ham closing in on Wilshere, Yarmolenko

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West Ham is reportedly getting a mix of world class veteran savvy.

Sky Sports is reporting that free agent Jack Wilshere and Borussia Dortmund winger Andriy Yarmolenko will be heading to West London this week.

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Big-framed Yarmolenko is the subject of a near-$24 million bid from the Irons, adding a similar threat to the one provided by Marko Arnautovic and promising a headache for defenders.

Yarmolenko scored six times in 26 matches for BVB last season, splitting time with the club’s talented depth including USMNT attacker Christian Pulisic. He’s scored 35 times in 77 caps for Ukraine.

Wilshere, still just 26, played 38 times for Arsenal this season but balked at signing a new contract with the team under new boss Unai Emery.

He missed out on the England roster for the World Cup, but is capped 34 times with two goals.