West Ham’s hopes of finishing in the top four have suffered another blow after scans revealed that Kurt Zouma suffered a serious hamstring injury during last Saturday’s victory over Chelsea.
David Moyes is facing a defensive crisis after losing both of his first-choice centre-backs to injury. Zouma is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after damaging a hamstring tendon and Angelo Ogbonna is out for the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury during West Ham’s win over Liverpool last month.
Zouma, who has been excellent since his £29.8m switch from Chelsea last summer, is expected to be out for six to 12 weeks. His absence will increase the need for Moyes to sign a centre-back in January. Craig Dawson and Issa Diop are the only fit centre-backs in West Ham’s squad.
West Ham, who are fourth in the Premier League, are longtime admirers of Burnley’s James Tarkowski. The centre-back is out of contract at the end of the season but Burnley are reluctant to sell in January. Sean Dyche hopes Tarkowski will see out the season and help his side avoid relegation.
It remains to be seen whether West Ham are prepared to meet Burnley’s £20m asking price for a player available for free in the summer. That could lead them to shift their focus but it is understood that any attempt to sign Manchester City’s Nathan Aké is unlikely to be successful.
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A West Ham statement said: “West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma sustained a hamstring tendon injury during Saturday’s Premier League victory against Chelsea. A scan on Monday revealed the damage and the 27-year-old French international defender has already started his recovery programme at Rush Green under the supervision of the medical team.”
West Ham are without the left-back Ben Johnson for up to a month with hamstring injury, although Aaron Cresswell is close to returning from a back injury.
West Ham are also hunting for reinforcements in attack. They have targeted Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, who is out of contract next summer.