West Ham United: Alarming Nayef Aguerd drop-off leaves David Moyes with big call to make
West Ham were left with a huge decision to make on Nayef Aguerd as the minutes ticked down towards the Saudi Arabian transfer window closing earlier this month.
Reports at the time suggested Al-Ittihad had made an audacious late bid to land the centre-back, who would earn wages 10 times more than he is currently on in the process [Goal, 4 September].
The Athletic [11 September] later claimed that two European suitors had also made their interest known, on top of Premier League trio Manchester City, Liverpool and Newcastle United sounding out his availability.
Clearly, then, Aguerd was a man in demand on the back of a slow burner of a debut campaign at the London Stadium.
However, five games into the 2023-24 campaign – or four in the case of Aguerd due to a suspension – and the Morocco international’s stock is not quite as high.
Indeed, according to Claret & Hugh [17 September], West Ham are now open to bids of around £50million for Aguerd at the end of the season.
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That comes on the back of the 27-year-old’s error for Man City’s second goal in their 3-1 win at the London Stadium on Saturday [16 September], which David Moyes labelled “poor”.
It is not the first time Moyes has criticised Aguerd, even if not directly as in this case, in what appears to be a pretty alarming slide on the face of it.
That is reflected in the figures, as Aguerd is winning fewer tackles per 90 minutes (0.27 v 1.02) in the Premier League this season compared to last, as per FBref, and also making more errors per 90 (0.27 v 0.11).
The four-game sample size is too small to make any definitive judgement, of course, but it is a worrying trend and one that Moyes will no doubt be aware of.
Having recruited Konstantinos Mavropanos in the summer to provide cover, it may well be that the Greek defender is brought into the side sooner rather than later to partner captain Kurt Zouma.
Aguerd will hopefully regain top form, but United cannot afford for him to repeat the type of sloppy play we once again saw at the weekend.