Mitchell Hall > Since his arrival in 2018, Fabianski has been the Hammers’ first choice in goal, even winning Hammer of the Year in his first campaign with us for his performances. Since then, he has been a dependable and thoroughly underrated keeper in the Premier League, only losing his place on the team sheet due to injury or for certain cup games, where his duties fall to backup keeper Darren Randolph. However, the experienced shot stopper is 36 in April and many fans are forced to wonder whether a replacement is imminent.
Firstly, Fabianski is by no means deteriorating in his performances, not yet anyway, with huge saves in recent matches including a busy and exemplary performance against London rivals Tottenham. Of course, for an outfield player his age would likely be beginning to show, however recent demonstrations would reassure supporters that he seems to have a few years in him yet. One concern that is still valid however may be his recent injury history, most notably his lengthy absence before Christmas last campaign, giving a chance to the infamous Roberto. It was an event that derailed our season and nearly got West Ham relegated. With an even more prolonged absence always looming in the back of fans’ minds, it could be time to recruit and nip the threat in the bud.
West Ham have already been linked to certain other targets, most recently the disgruntled Manchester United backup Dean Henderson. The 23-year-old goalkeeper had a magnificent season with the over-achieving Sheffield United, and has looked at home during his limited performances with Manchester. His ability is not in question; however, some fans may wince at the proposed valuation of around 40 million pounds, especially at a time where recruitment both in the striker and central midfielder positions seems so crucial. This will inevitably be coupled with interest from other teams around Europe, so West Ham would likely be seen as punching above their weight in the race. Then again, this season if anything proves that West Ham love playing the underdogs.
A more reasonably priced target, even if one more drawn up from the wishes of fans than any credible sources, would be Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kolar. Hailing from the club that provided the Hammers with impressive signings Soucek and Coufal, fans looking for more talents have drawn attention to the Czech keeper. Currently 26, Kolar has plenty of performances to give, and has looked solid in the net for Slavia this season. This signing would likely be significantly cheaper if Slavia were willing to sell and has the potential to earn the number 1 spot if he could make the transition to the Prem like his compatriots. His European experience, including most recently against Leicester in the Europa League, provide him with some extra playing time at the top level. This could be used to excuse the fact that his weekly performances are admittedly against teams of a significantly lower quality than he would face in the prem, but Coufal and Soucek provide great evidence of the potential he may well have.
Ultimately it is up to Moyes to decide whether Fabianski will be sufficient for the next campaign, especially with the potential fixture congestion if West Ham manage to qualify for Europe. With the recruitment of other positions being absolutely key, it is likely that fans will get to enjoy Fabianski for at least another season.