By George Overhill

2nd Feb, 2022 | 6:29pm

Aji Alese and Harrison Ashby missed loan opportunities thanks to lack of West Ham signings

The knock-on effect of West Ham failing to make any signings during the transfer window was it blocked loan exits for various players, says The Athletic.

David Moyes was expected to add at least a central defender and a striker during the window, but despite high profile bids apparently being made for Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha and Darwin Nunez, nobody arrived at the London Stadium.

The manager has since defended the club’s stance as being “really ambitious” but it doesn’t escape the fact that the team will have to continue as before, and additionally, fringe players who could have benefited from first-team football on loan had to stay.

Writing in The Athletic, Roshane Thomas reports: “Failure to improve the squad meant fringe players were unable to seal game time elsewhere.

“League One side Plymouth Argyle wanted to sign Aji Alese on loan but were told he could not leave. Promising right-back Harrison Ashby had interest from Hull City but also stayed in London.

“Third-choice goalkeeper Darren Randolph was told he could not join either Aston Villa or Leeds United on loan.”

Underwhelming

The headline disappointment from the window is clearly going to be the lack of support for the first team at a key point in the season, and indeed in the club’s recent history.

The Hammers look like they might be starting to fall away from the pack in terms of European qualification for next season, and reinforcements now might have rejuvenated the squad.

With Declan Rice reportedly more likely to leave following the lack of investment this month (Telegraph) it looks to be a damaging one all round.

So the collapse of potential loan deals for the two young defenders is just the icing on the cake of a disappointing situation for fans.

Unless they are suddenly going to be thrust into the first team they are not going to get a great deal of benefit from turning out for the reserve teams, and the development they could have experienced had they moved away will now be lost.

In other West Ham news, the manager says the club made three record bids during the window as he reacts to criticism.