Why West Ham should grab the opportunity to sign Ryan Manning
Towards the end of July, the Telegraph reported that West Ham were interested in signing QPR star Ryan Manning to bolster their left-back department. It was also claimed that the Hammers view the Republic of Ireland international as a low-risk option.
The 24-year-old isn’t the only left-back to have been linked with a move to the London Stadium, with Brentford star Rico Henry also mentioned as a potential target for David Moyes’ side.
However, none of those deals have come to fruition so far and with just about a week to go before the deadline, West Ham will surely need to speed up their pursuit if they are to sort out their defensive problems. And the Hammers should definitely take note of the latest development surrounding the future of Manning at QPR.
Manning, who established himself as one of the best left-backs in the Championship last season, has been left out of the matchday squads for each of QPR’s first three league games against Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, and Middlesbrough so far this term.
According to London News Online, QPR boss Mark Warburton has made it clear that Manning’s lack of involvement has a lot to do with his ongoing contract dispute at Loftus Road. The Irishman’s current deal expires in 2021 and he has so far stalled on putting pen to paper on fresh terms amid interest from the Premier League clubs.
Hence, it is quite clear and obvious that the 24-year-old is making a shrewd attempt to run down his contract and leave for free next summer. West Ham, who are yet to get deals over the line for any of their targets this summer, should capitalise on such a situation.
Meanwhile, West Ham finally seem to have found out their best formation to stem the inflow of goals. The Hammers looked quite shaky at the back in their first two games against Newcastle and Arsenal this season after conceding as many as 62 goals in the league last term.
That was before David Moyes’ tactical masterstroke to switch to a 3-4-2-1 system paid off handsomely against Wolves, with West Ham registering a thumping 4-0 win and limiting the visitors to very few chances in front of goal.
The Hammers have often been let down by their left-backs – Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell – but they looked a lot more secure with Cresswell playing as a left-sided centre-back and Masuaku operating further up the pitch as a wing-back.
Manning could be an upgrade on Masuaku
However, it’s imperative to say that Masuaku has a habit of blowing hot and cold, which is one of the main reasons why he has been quite lacklustre at West Ham over the years. Ryan Manning, to that end, could very well be an upgrade on the Congolese international, while also providing Moyes with a more dynamic option down the left.
Those claims are very well backed up by the numbers. Manning registered an impressive tally of 4 goals and 7 assists in 41 appearances for QPR last season while Masuaku struggled for regular minutes at West Ham, registering just a single assist in 17 Premier League outings. Those attacking numbers are also better than Cresswell, who only scored thrice in 31 appearances last season.
As per Sofascore, Manning created as many as 12 big chances in the Championship last term. Masuaku, on the other hand, managed to carve out just 2 big chances in the Premier League. That clearly lies testament to the fact that the QPR star could be a massive upgrade on West Ham’s existing options on the left.
Manning also boasts the versatility to operate as a left-back, left wing-back and as a central midfielder. That would offer Moyes with valuable cover in multiple areas of the pitch while also allowing him to switch effectively between a back-three and a back-four.
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It is clear from the above discussion that Ryan Manning is more than capable of making the step up to the Premier League after proving his credentials at a mid-table side in the EFL Championship. The 24-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and West Ham would hardly find a better option in the market if they are, indeed, looking for an effective low-cost addition this summer.