This is best possible West Ham line-up after Zaza arrival, star will be benched
Comment by Dominic Toner
West Ham have completed the signing of Simone Zaza and he will line-up in a strong looking starting XI.
The Hammers confirmed the arrival of the 25-year-old on Sunday, who has joined on a season-long loan deal from Juventus that has the potential to smash their transfer record.
The deal will cost West Ham £5million this season and includes an obligation to make the move permanent for a further £20million if he makes a certain amount of appearances.
Slaven Bilic has now completed 11 signings this summer and has built a formidable Premier League squad.
West Ham have suffered several injury setbacks during the early stages of the season but when key players return from injury they have a dangerous looking starting XI, which could see the in-form Michail Antonio miss out.
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West Ham’s backline is likely to have a familiar feel to it with a defensive unit that all have Premier League experience under the belt.
Aaron Cresswell is currently sidelined with a knee injury and his replacement Arthur Masuaku provides a good back-up.
Welshman James Collins is Bilic’s other senior centre-back option, but Angelo Ogbanna and Wiston Reid may just have the edge.
Despite the summer acquisition of Havard Nordtveit, it is the tried-and-tested pairing of Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate who provide the perfect defensive base in front of the back four.
West Ham are blessed with some phenomenal forward options and the injured players Dimitri Payet, Andre Ayew and Manuel Lanzini are all first-team starters when fit.
Midfielder Payet was a key figure for West Ham last season and was a nominee for the PFA Player of the Year.
He joined West Ham from Marseille last summer for around £12.5million and was integral to the Hammers’ sensational season, scoring 12 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions.
It means Bilic may struggle to find a place for the in-form Antonio who has been the club’s stand out player with two goals in three league games.
New recruit Zaza arrives at West Ham with bags of experience and is likely to be favoured ahead of Andy Carroll, who is also currently out with a long-term injury.
In other West Ham team news, the club’s star has been rewarded with his first international call-up.