By Will Butcher
Arthur Masuaku is set to return to West Ham training on Friday after as he looks to finally overcome a long-term knee injury, according to a report.
The 23-year-old has failed to feature for the Hammers since the 5-1 loss to Arsenal back in December, which saw him play just two games after returning from another injury.
According to the London Evening Standard, Masuaku is closing in on a first-team return with the Hammers, with a return to training pencilled in for Friday.
Signed from Greek champions Olympiacos in the summer, Masuaku has managed just eight appearances for the east London side on the left side of defence.
The Frenchman has cost almost £1million a match after being signed for a fee of £6million in the summer as back up for undisputed first-choice left-back Aaron Cresswell.
However, Masuaku could now return to offer depth on the left side of defence and could even be used to give England international Cresswell a rest, with the former Ipswich man playing in the Hammers last 11 games.
Football Insider verdict:
Masuaku has struggled to show either the form or the consistency required after the Hammers splashed out a sizeable chunk of their transfer budget on him in the summer. Known for his pace at the back, as well as his ability to get forward, fans will be hoping that Masuaku can now stay fit for a sustained period and offer Cresswell back-up. However, with Cresswell remaining as the Hammers’ first choice, it remains to be seen how Bilic will keep Masuaku happy. It will be an interesting six months for the defender, with a move potentially on the cards in the summer if he becomes disillusioned at the London Stadium.
In other West Ham news, this Hammers side will beat West Brom on Saturday.