Alphonse Areola could play final West Ham United game v Frankfurt
West Ham United head to Germany for their biggest game of this millennium on Thursday in the Europa League semi-final against Frankfurt.
Coming into the game with a 2-1 defeat that they need to overturn there is rightly all eyes on the game, but it has gone under the radar that this could be the final game that some play for the club.
One man in particular though who faces that reality is French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who is currently at the club on loan from Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Areola has spent the vast majority of the season as number two goalkeeper behind Lukasz Fabianski, who has just signed a new one-year extension to his contract at the London Stadium.
That would suggest that David Moyes wants the Polish stopper to continue as his main man next season, which leaves question marks over Areola’s future.
Reports suggest the Hammers have an option to make Areola’s loan permanent this summer, but he wants to be the number one keeper and has attracted interest from Fulham once again.
With just three Premier League games remaining after Thursday’s crunch clash and with Fabianski having played in them all when he’s been available, Areola could be donning the jersey for the final time.
There is always the possibility that he re-signs with the Hammers and sticks around, but it certainly seems more likely that he will leave the club and go elsewhere.
That makes this game all the more important. He’s not put a foot wrong during his spell in east London this year and fans have taken to him, while it’s reported that the staff and players are also big fans of him.
If they want him to potentially leave on a high, then they must win the game. If not, it seems likely that his final game will take place in Frankfurt.
He won’t get the goodbye in front of the fans, he won’t leave with a trophy above his head and ultimately he’ll just become another player to have once represented West Ham.
The longer the speculation goes on, the less chance West Ham have of getting him to stay on. So Areola is not only playing for progression in the competition, but also potentially to extend his Hammers future.
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