By Anthony Onifade

9th Mar, 2023 | 1:40pm

Ryan Giles could be the ideal Aaron Cresswell replacement with the player's West Ham United future uncertain

West Ham are likely to pursue on-loan Middlesbrough left-back Ryan Giles if Wolves sanction a sale and he may prove to be the ideal replacement for Aaron Cresswell.

Cresswell has been the first-choice left-back at the club since joining from Ipswich Town in 2014 but has been struggling for regular action, making just one start for the Hammers since the turn of the year.

The 33-year-old is facing an uncertain future at the London Stadium with his contract expiring in June and there have been no talks regarding any renewal of his contract.

And the Hammers may already be chasing potential long-term replacements for the Irons veteran.

According to the Mirror [9 March, page 56] on-loan Wolves defender Giles, currently at Middlesbrough is of interest to the Hammers if the Midlands club sanction a deal this summer.

Giles is on a season-long loan from the Molinuex, and his performances at left wing-back have proven a major factor in Boro’s rise up the Championship table under Michael Carrick.

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If Wolves do sanction a sale then West Ham are likely to pounce and considering Giles’ current ability and potential to play at the top level, the 23-year-old could represent a smart long-term buy and replacement for Cresswell.

Giles has enjoyed a stunning campaign at the Stadium of Light, featuring in 35 Championship games so far, and recording 9 assists from left wing-back under Carrick’s tutelage.

The 23-year-old has recorded the most assists of any Championship player this season, two more than the next best, but his underlying stats show he is ready to make the step up to the Premier League next season.

His nine assists so far this campaign better Cresswell’s best-ever tally in a single season [seven], but more crucially, he ranks in the top 1% of full-backs in Europe’s top eight leagues [FBref] for assists per 90, expected assisted goals per 90 and in the top 13% for shot-creating actions per 90 highlighting how pivotal he is to Middlesbrough’s chance creation so far this season.

Giles also ranks in the top 3% of full-backs on the continent for key passes per 90, and in the 2% for crosses into the penalty area, a trait regularly associated with West Ham full-backs down the years.

The 23-year-old will need to work on his defensive game if he is to become the complete full-back and there’s a reason Boro deploys him as a wing-back rather than an out-right full-back, to mask his defensive deficiencies.

However, those rough edges will be refined with age, further coaching and maturity while being exposed to top-level football.

With Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui potentially sourcing long-term solutions of his own, the Midlands club may be tempted to sell.

If so, the Hammers should certainly test the waters as Giles has proven to be one of the best left-backs in the country, he’s an ideal replacement for the departing Cresswell.