Written by : @JGriffithJourno
Much has been made of West Ham’s lack of squad depth in the past few weeks. Central defence and fullback cover are clearly the prominent worries for Manuel Pellegrini as he has looked to USA defender Aaron Long to help solve this issue. This move is all resting on whether Long is granted a work permit. But even still, it is good to see we are addressing the squad depth issue efficiently.
However, our striking options are just as limited as defence. Lucas Perez departed for Alaves, Jordan Hugill crossed London to join QPR on loan whilst Andy Carroll was unsurprisingly released after six years with the club. That leaves us with record signing Sebastien Haller and an inconsistent Javier Hernandez as our only senior forwards. Michail Antonio is capable of playing through the middle, but this is a waste of his explosive power out wide. It is clear we need forwards and a last-minute deal for a free agent may be on the cards. Two names stand out, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge. But which Danny should West Ham opt for?
If it is a pure goal-scorer we are after, Sturridge is our man. His goal-to-minute ratio of 133 since joining Liverpool completely dwarfs Welbeck’s 270 during his time at Arsenal. Sturridge’s ratio is incredible, although it is majorly boosted by his form during the 12/13 and 13/14 seasons when playing alongside Luis Suarez. Welbeck has never been known for his goalscoring ability, unless he is donning the England shirt where he has bagged 16 goals in 42 appearances for the Three Lions. Welbeck has a 145 goal-to-minute ratio for the National side, compared to Sturridge’s 205, indicating Welbeck thrives on the biggest stage.
As for all round play, the two players are completely different stylistically. Welbeck’s enthusiastic approach to pressing and ability to play a number of positions across the frontline made him a real asset to Unai Emery in the early stage of last season. Unfortunately, injury ruled Welbeck out for the season. Sturridge is the polar opposite. He is regularly neglected by Jurgen Klopp due to his unwillingness to press. Sturridge may have more assists than Welbeck in the Premier league, but only 4 of his 21 Liverpool assists have occurred since Klopp’s arrival. Sturridge is not a player who can fit into any system, he is very much a ‘luxury player’. With West Ham’s defensive shortcomings, a freeloader like Sturridge may be the last thing we need.
As previously mentioned, Welbeck is adept to playing a number of positions. He works more effectively as a lone striker than Sturridge due to his impressive work-rate and willingness to get in behind. Whilst he has also played out wide for Arsenal, being used as an inside forward to offer a aerial threat from wide in attack and adequate cover for the fullbacks when in a defensive phase. Sturridge is very one dimensional and benefits massively from a hard-working strike partner. Sebastien Haller could provide this, as seen with his excellent partnership with Luka Jovic last season, but Pellegrini rarely utilises a two-up-top formation so this may be something we would not see.