By Noel Whelan

4th Oct, 2019 | 7:00am

Exclusive: Pundit reacts to 'Devastating' West Ham blow

The long-term injury to Lukasz Fabianski is a “devastating” blow for West Ham, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the BBC pundit and ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker claimed Manuel Pellegrini will be fretting over the lengthy absence of his number one.

Football Insider broke the news on Monday that Fabianski will be sidelined for up to three months after tearing his thigh muscle in last Saturday’s draw against Bournemouth.

It means Spanish signing Roberto will step in to replace the Poland international, who has been in the starting XI for all 45 Premier League matches Pellegrini has managed the club.

“It’s a devastating blow because Fabianski has been outstanding for West Ham,” Whelan told Football Insider. “It’s also devastating because he has that communication and trust with the defenders.

“To lose your main keeper who is proven at the highest level is huge. It’s not just stopping goals – which he is obviously very good at – but the communication he provides behind the back four.

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“The goalkeeper and defence is a big partnership. There is a trust there. To lose a goalkeeper of Fabianski’s quality for a long time is going to be really tough for them.”

Fabianski has been consistently excellent since signing from Swansea City on a free transfer in the summer of 2018 and was named Hammer of the Year at the club’s end-of-season awards at the end of his debut campaign.

Roberto is likely to now start against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium on Saturday after starting both of the Irons’ League Cup fixtures this season, including the 4-0 thrashing at Oxford United last Wednesday.

In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED that the club are readying talks to sign new player after permission granted.