By Daniel Feliciano

21st Sep, 2022 | 6:10pm

West Ham United must make tough contract decision as Pablo Fornals battles for future

West Ham had a record-breaking transfer window in the summer, but their start to the season has been nothing short of disappointing so far.

Five defeats in the opening seven Premier League games have seen the team sitting in the relegation zone heading into the first international break of the season, and that’s led to a review of the squad and who is or isn’t good enough.

But after eight first-team arrivals including several attacking players, Pablo Fornals’ future is one that has gone up in the air and questions are being asked of the 26-year-old.

The Spaniard has established himself as a regular in David Moyes’ starting lineup over recent seasons, with his creativity and work ethic a big part of West Ham’s success last season in particular.

He is capable of playing on either wing, as a number ten and even as a central midfielder if necessary and that versatility has seen the boss able to switch through systems at will, knowing he can slot into the role and perform to a steady level.

But while a steady level is always good, West Ham need more. They need more than just steady because they want to be the team to break the trend and become part of the elite alongside the “big six” in the Premier League.

After the arrival of Maxwel Cornet and Lucas Paqueta to the squad, plus Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma already being part of the squad is there space for Fornals anymore?

His contract is due to expire in 2024 and with his minutes likely to decrease as the season goes on, West Ham will be forced to make a decision on his future going into the summer.

It will be the last chance they have to sell him for a decent fee as he approaches the final 12 months of his deal, while other clubs are likely to be interested in paying to bring him to their club after his performances for the Hammers.

But the player is likely to want to play on in London after becoming a fan favourite at the club, and if he performs well this season and can help the club turn their issues around then there will be a tough call for Moyes to make.

It’s a difficult decision for all parties, but one that has to be thought through properly and one that needs to be made sooner rather than later.