There’s no doubt the main goal for David Moyes in the transfer market this January will be bringing a midfielder to West Ham United.
After a poor start to his managerial career at the London Stadium, the former Sunderland boss has started to turn things around in East London, with the Hammers now sitting in 15th and outside the relegation zone.
Despite that upturn in form, speaking after the December defeat to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup, Moyes admitted that despite the upturn in form, he wanted to splash the cash.
“We need to add quality and you can see that tonight,“ Moyes told Sky Sports after the game.
“The club know. I think they knew before I came in that they needed it.
“We had to start with two 18-year-olds in midfield and against Arsenal that is always going to be difficult.
“We have players in other positions, quite a few of them, but at this moment in time we are short on midfield players.”
So who could the Hammers target? We’ve identified five men they should consider.
According to The Sun, Harry Arter has emerged as a West Ham transfer target in January, with the Hammers reportedly considering a £15million bid to sign the the Ireland international.
Moyes is reportedly favouring domestic talent and the 27-year-old knows the Premier League well after being a regular for Bournemouth since their promotion in 2015.
The Scot is even said to consider Arter as the long-term successor to Mark Noble as the home-grown heartbeat of the club.
And while it may have been unlikely in the past that Bournemouth would have let Arter go, he’s already sat out eight top-flight matches this season, suggesting Eddie Howe could sanction the midfielder's departure.
His passing accuracy would be a real bonus to the Hammers too – his completion rate is at 87.4 per cent this season, well above the West Ham average of 76.1 per cent.
William Carvalho may not fit the homegrown ideals that Moyes is apparently looking for, but he was on West Ham’s radar in the summer.
The pursuit of Carvalho caused a massive row between the Hammers and his current club Sporting Lisbon, with the Portuguese side’s chairman branding West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold the ‘dildo brothers’.
They also said they were going to report the Hammers to Fifa for an illegal pursuit of the 25-year-old, but that has since been resolved with both clubs releasing a statement earlier this month saying they’ve settled their differences.
And that could open the door for Carvalho to move to the London Stadium.
The 25-year-old’s high energy would be appreciated by Moyes, who’s looked to improve the Hammers’ fitness since he arrived in East London.
He would also add protection in front of what has been at times this season a very leaky defence, and his passing ability means he can start attacks and unlock opposition sides from deep. He’d be a real quality addition but wouldn't come cheap.
Yet his impressive form in the Europa League matched with Arsenal’s busy schedule has seen him starting in the Gunners side for their last few games.
That’s seen the 25-year-old discuss signing a new contract at the Emirates. His current deal is up in the summer but he's open to staying if he nails down a regular place in the starting XI.
Yet, as quickly as he returned to the first team, Wilshere could find himself on the sidelines once again when Aaron Ramsey is fit. Something which would leave his hopes of being in the England squad for this summer's World Cup in tatters.
Wilshere's ability is well-known – Barcelona legend Xavi once hailing him as the future of English football – and if he can stay fit, the midfielder would be a real asset to wherever he plays.
There’s no doubt that Moyes would like him at West Ham, saying earlier this month: “Jack Wilshere would be someone who we’d have to look at if he was available.”
When Moyes was at Sunderland, he was known to be a fan of Hibernian’s John McGinn, travelling to Easter Road on a number of occasions last season to scout him.
The Hibs man was named Scottish Championship Player of the Year for 2016/17 as he starred in their promotion campaign, scoring four times in 29 league matches.
He was a Nottingham Forest transfer target in the summer with the Championship side making a £750,000 bid for him without success.
Hibs boss Neil Lennon thinks his star man is worth much more than that after continued his good form in the Scottish Premiership, scoring three goals so far this season, including a double away at Celtic.
“Everything about his game was what you want from a modern midfield player. I said he was worth £5million a couple of weeks ago – I think he's worth a lot more than that now,” raved Lennon back in October after that brace.
The 22-year-old already has five Scotland caps and has proved himself capable of stepping up – he could well be a gamble worth taking for the Hammers.