How West Ham United's bold £235m starting line-up could look next season - if latest rumours are true

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We look at how West Ham could line up in 2024/25 based on their likely summer signings and departures.

West Ham United are one of several sides who look likely to endure a summer of upheaval – they have a new manager in Julen Lopetegui, plenty of holes to fill in the side, and the very real chance several players leave over the course of the transfer window… or are rendered unavailable for very different reasons.

The rumour mill has linked the Hammers with a pretty broad range of players, some more plausible than others, but to prepare West Ham fans for what the immediate future might hold, we’ve put together a possible starting line-up for next season, along with some discussion over which players might stay and go and where they’re likely to strengthen things. It all adds up to approximately £235m worth of footballers – but will it be enough to get West Ham back into Europe next year?

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GK: Alphonse Areola (£8m)

The 31-year-old made the starting role his own last season after a frustrating first campaign at the London Stadium, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe that Lopetegui will make any changes between the sticks. There will be considerable churn elsewhere on the field, but continuity at the very back seems assured as it stands.

LB: Marcos Acuña (£10m)

The defence is probably the area most in need of bolstering, and the Hammers have been linked with several left-backs from La Liga, including Girona’s Miguel Gutiérrez and Real Betis’ Juan Miranda – but based purely on recency bias, we’re going to speculate that they sign Sevilla and Argentina wing-back Acuña, who has been linked with a move to West Ham or Aston Villa.

An experienced and capable World Cup winner, there are downsides to a move for him, most notably his advancing years – he turns 33 in October – and fitness issues which frustrated him for periods of the 2023/24 season. Sevilla supposedly want €15m (£12.8m) but it’s likely he goes for a little less. Acuña would be a short-term upgrade, but not a long-term solution.

CB: Jacob Greaves (£15m)

The Hull City centre-half has been heavily linked with the Hammers after establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the Championship, and he seems to hit the sweet spot for a club in their position – a strong all-rounder who’s great in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet, has a decent passing range and is young enough to continue improving.

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Other clubs may well be interested, with Everton also linked already, but this does seem like the kind of ‘right player, right price’ deal on paper that it’s hard to look past. With other defenders either likely to leave, moving towards the end of their contract or struggling for form, this would be an investment in the present and future at the same time.

CB: Kurt Zouma (£30m)

Zouma only has one year left on his current deal with West Ham but doesn’t seem likely to move as it stands, with no tangible reports about other clubs looking to sign him. With change likely elsewhere at centre-back, Zouma and Konstantinos Mavropanos look like the most probable continuity candidates.

Rumours have persisted for six months now that Nayef Aguërd wants out of West Ham despite only signing last summer, Angelo Ogbonna is expected to leave the club in June, and there is little depth elsewhere. We expect Zouma and Mavropanos to stay with at least two new names coming in, barring unexpected twists.

RB: Vladimír Coufal (£5m)

There have been reports that West Ham are among the clubs chasing Torino right-back Raoul Bellanova, but few other rumours link them with a right-sided full-back and it seems more likely the club stick with Coufal, a solid performer whose place probably shouldn’t be under too much threat as it stands.

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CM: James Ward-Prowse (£30m)

An impressive first season at the London Stadium should ensure the former Southampton man and his unerringly accurate set piece deliveries will still be among the first additions to Lopetegui’s team sheet. There may be a need for extra depth in central midfield, but this doesn’t look like an area subject to much change.

CM: Edson Alvárez (£32m)

Similarly, former Ajax central midfielder enjoyed a rock-solid debut campaign under David Moyes and there doesn’t seem to be much chance that Lopetegui looks to replace him. There are too many priorities elsewhere on the pitch to make change in the heart of the park likely.

LW: Mohammed Kudus (£40m)

Outscored only by Jarrod Bowen, Kudus was another highly successful summer addition and while there is plenty of work needed in some parts of the field, the Declan Rice money has still been well spent. Kudus is likely to have the left wing role nailed down, although the potential departures of Maxwel Cornet and Saïd Benrahma may necessitate the addition of some depth.

AM: Callum O’Hare (free)

Here we arrive at the biggest issue West Ham face this summer – attacking midfielder Lucas Paquetá faces two charges of prohibited gambling activity from the FA and could face a lifetime ban if found guilty. Paquetá denies the charges but there has to be a degree of succession planning should he be suspended, and even were he quickly cleared then Manchester City are still sniffing around a possible signing.

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West Ham have been eyeing up Coventry City’s O’Hare for a while now, and the creative playmaker is set to leave the Sky Blues on a free transfer at the end of the current season. O’Hare could just as easily operate out wide and would be a fine signing in terms of offering cover across the attacking line, but it’s fair to question whether he can hit the heights Paquetá has should the Brazilian be made unavailable. Emile Smith Rowe has been mentioned as well, but this could suddenly become a problem area.

RW: Jarrod Bowen (£22m)

The unquestioned star of the show at the London Stadium, Bowen is tied down to a contract which has six years left to run and the club shouldn’t even contemplate selling him unless silly money is offered – but The Daily Telegraph still reported on Thursday that Newcastle United were considering a bid. If a serious attempt to sign Bowen does materialise, it could become a problem, but for now we’re going to suggest that his extra-long contract should keep him safely in East London.

CF: Youssef En-Nesyri (£43m)

Defence and attacking midfield may be priorities in their own right, but arguably nothing trumps the need to find a long-term solution at number nine. The ageing pair of Danny Ins and Michail Antonio necessitate a new face at centre-forward, and while West Ham have been linked with other forwards including VfB Stuttgart’s prolific Serhiou Guirassy, we think Sevilla striker En-Nesyri is the most realistic shout, especially as West Ham have been linked with him before.

Sevilla are reportedly looking for around €50m (£42.6m) for the Moroccan’s services and he offers pretty much exactly what West Ham need – he’s a classical number nine who operates strictly within the box and has the physical qualities and finishing acumen to supply a steady stream of goals. Don’t be shocked if Lopetegui and Steidten look elsewhere depending on budget, but En-Nesyri doesn’t seem inherently unlikely.

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