West Ham: Moyes could boldly drop Aguerd for talented teen prodigy

The Hammers boast a youth star that “other clubs are envious of”.

West Ham United are back in business this season after toiling somewhat last year, finishing 16th in the Premier League though winning the Europa Conference League in June.

This momentous triumph dispelled any concerns over the club’s drop in form, with David Moyes and his transfer team since making some impressive summer signings to restore fluidity.

And with the Irons currently seventh in the league and top of their Europa League group, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic for the future, but not everyone in the squad is performing well.

How is Nayef Aguerd playing this season?

Nayef Aguerd was so important after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in July 2022 that lay him on the sidelines for an extended period, making his debut in Premier League debut in November and making 30 total displays.

Praised as a “superstar” by reporter Mohamed Salad last season, the Moroccan played four times during his nation’s stunning 2022 World Cup run, keeping clean sheets against Croatia, Belgium and Spain.

But this season, the £50k-per-week titan has left much to be desired, with a notably calamitous game against Liverpool leading The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas to state that “defensive errors are holding him back.”

The match before, Moyes bemoaned his “bad timing” for Bernardo Silva’s equalising goal for Manchester City, shortly after the break, which proved detrimental as the Sky Blues turned the match around.

To compound matters, he was sent off against Chelsea in August and missed the subsequent match against Brighton & Hove Albion – good thing the Irons won both.

He is, of course, a very good centre-back, making 4.1 clearances per game this term and winning 58% of his duels, but he’s not hit his stride yet this year and could use a bit of competition

Who is Kaelan Casey?

Perhaps the time is right for West Ham to unleash their latest academy star, with dynamic central defender Kaelan Casey impressing over the past few years.

The 18-year-old made his senior debut last season, coming off the bench against FCSB in the Europa Conference League, while he has sat on the bench in the Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur and Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup this season.

Casey penned a long-term contract with the London Stadium side in August, and may only be young, but boasts the talent and the confidence to succeed at the highest level.

A versatile player, he can play across defensive and midfield roles and, as such, would be a tailor-made heir to Declan Rice’s position in Moyes’ team, with the England star and Irons graduate completing a £105m move to Arsenal in the summer.

Said to be a talent that “other clubs are envious of” by Thomas, Casey is now a distinguished 72-appearance member of West Ham’s youth teams, with the hulking 6 foot 3 prodigy – captain of the U21 outfit – looking every bit the future Premier League player.

Aguerd is an immensely talented centre-half and one who will play a major role for West Ham when facing the upcoming obstacles.

But with such an exciting youth prospect in Casey waiting in the wings, it might be wise for Moyes to offer him a route into the first team, adding a dimension, kickstarting his career and providing Aguerd with the incentive to perform at his zenith.

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