Towards the end of this season, holding onto leads in games was something West Ham really struggled with.
And a player like Havard Nordtveit could be the man to sure up our defence towards the ends of games. Especially in the games against Chelsea and Leicester in March and April, our lazy defending and controversial refereeing decisions cost us four points.
If we had turned those two draws into wins it could’ve completely changed the title run in, maybe we would’ve ruined Leicester’s mentality and made the title race closer. This would also have given us the boost we needed to get Champions League football and attract more high profile players to Stratford next season.
Towards the end of the campaign our midfield had been near non-existent, I love Kouyate and Noble, but they haven’t worked well together recently. They both get forward and neither of them want to be responsible and take on their defensive responsibilities. This leaves us exposed at the back, and is where a high quality defensive midfielder comes in.
Nordtveit is your ideal holding midfielder, versatile enough to play in defensive midfield, centre back, or right back. He is a tall, strong, athletic and defensive minded midfielder, but he also has an eye for goal.
He scored three goals from outside the box this season (the most in the Bundesliga), which is also something we have lacked. Our players have seemed scared to shoot when it opens up for them in front of goal from 20+ yards. He will change this with his sharp shooting from distance.
And he can offer competition for Payet on free kicks. I understand Nordtveit wont take many (if any) but it will motivate Payet to do better from dead-ball situations, as he has been disappointing from free kicks since his world-class goal against Crystal Palace.
Going back to my original point, Nordtveit may not be an immediate starter, but as someone to bring on – as Obiang has failed to tie down a spot in the starting XI. His athleticism and solid defending could be the difference as the other midfielders start to tire.
Generally towards the end of games we would bring on a third centre back. They will sure us up inside the box, but we generally keep four in midfield, as a flat four there is space for runners between the defence and midfield.
Instead of bringing on another defender, a strong defensive midfielder is what you want in that situation. The back four need protecting towards the end of games and this season the only defensive midfielder we have had is Alex Song, who is a shadow of the player he was last year and I bet the owners can’t wait to have him off the wage bill.
They’re going to be glad to send him back to talents inferior to Andy Carroll, like Messi, Suarez and Neymar.
Maybe the signing of Havard Nordtveit is there to change the formation and make West Ham a more dynamic, attacking team. If he is to start, which I believe he will, who will Bilic drop?
I think Noble will be dropped against the bigger teams, as Kouyate’s presence is needed in midfield, but then Noble can be brought on for the last 30 mins to inject a bit of fire and fight into the midfield. He would bring the team back together if we were down and would be a great impact substitute for West Ham.
But, this is only conceptual, in all honesty I don’t see Noble or Kouyate being dropped in our debut season at the Olympic Stadium, though this could change based on how Nordtveit performs at the start of his career in claret and blue.
I’m honestly looking forward to next season so much, there is going to be so much competition for places and that will keep players motivated. Hopefully we sign two more strikers as I can see Enner Valenica and Diafra Sakho leaving – who would you like to see us sign?
I think we need another right back and a winger, too. Let me know who you would like us to sign over the course of the summer via the comments below…