June 20, 2024

West Han United are set to have a different captain for a third season in a row next season and here is a look at who could be among the contenders to be given the armband

West Ham United's Nayef Aguerd kisses the trophy during the UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 final match between ACF Fiorentina and West Ham United FC at Eden Arena

 

West Ham United will have a different captain for the third season in a row next season after co-owner David Sullivan confirmed that Declan Rice will be sold this summer.

Whoever replaces Rice with the armband next season has big shoes to fill, after the Arsenal and Bayern Munich-linked star guided the Hammers to the Europa Conference League title on Wednesday night.

Prior to Rice, Mark Noble captained the club for seven years prior to his retirement, a run that included helping the club finish sixth and seventh in the Premier League and reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League.

But with Rice’s exit now seemingly a matter of when as opposed to if, West Ham boss David Moyes will be on the search for a new captain next year to lead the team out in the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

As West Ham eye up potential replacements for Rice as captain, here are five members of the current squad among the frontrunners to replace him.

Aaron Cresswell

Vice-captain Aaron Cresswell has been the immediate backup to Rice this season on the rare occasions that the skipper has been absent this season.

Next season is set to be Cresswell’s tenth as a West Ham player and in that time, he has won 331 first-team appearances for the Hammers and is the club’s longest-serving player.

While Cresswell may not be the first-choice next season after having spells in and out of the team against Emerson this term, he would be a good leader and has proven that as part of the leadership group with Rice.

Moyes may want more of a regularly playing captain if Cresswell is not a regular starter, but if Moyes is more open to a club captaincy, then Cresswell could be a good bet.

David Moyes (right), manager of West Ham United, talks to left-back Aaron Cresswell (left)

Angelo Ogbonna

Experienced Italian centre-back Angelo Ogbonna has been one of the Hammers’ vice-captains after Cresswell this season, leading them out six times this season when Rice and Cresswell have not featured.

The 35-year-old’s contract does expire this summer, but the defender, more affectionately known as ‘Uncle Ange,’ has made it clear that he wants to stay at the London Stadium beyond his contract expiring at the end of the month.

Ogbonna is a very popular member of the dressing room and has shown an ability to help players settle into the club, as shown with Gianluca Scamacca this season.

If he stays next season, it will be Ogbonna’s ninth campaign and it is likely to be similar to Cresswell as more of a club captain.

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna celebrates victory at the end of the match with team mate Lukasz Fabianski (right) during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at London Stadium

 

Nayef Aguerd

Given his form at times since this season following a £30million arrival from Stade Rennais, Moroccan centre-back Nayef Aguerd has proved to be a very popular arrival, both on and off the pitch.
Aguerd has also shown an ability to stick up for his teammates and be a leader, helped by his quality as a player and how he seems to be well-loved at the club.

While his debut season has been disrupted at times due to injury, when he has played, he has largely formed a very solid centre-back partnership with Kurt Zouma, with both proving to be a really solid base when at their best.

Given his popularity and on-pitch ability, Aguerd would make a sensible choice and has been one of the signings of the season, of which, the best is still yet to come.

Tomas Soucek

Midfielder Tomas Soucek has been one of the players to be on the whole journey with West Ham from relegation danger to qualifying for Europe for three straight seasons and winning the Europa Conference League.

Soucek’s performances this season have been a drop off at times from previous years, but he is a first-team regular, a great character in the team and someone with real leadership acumen.

Soucek is also the captain of the Czech Republic national team so would be an experienced option, while also still likely to be a regular player in the side.

The 28-year-old has hardly missed a game ever since his arrival and is a very dependable figure.

Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal of West Ham United celebrate victory after the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final second leg match between AZ Alkmaar and West Ham United at AFAS Stadium

 

Vladimir Coufal

The other half of West Ham’s Czech duo is right-back Vladimir Coufal who has proved to be his consistent self.

Coufal has nailed down his spot on the right side of defence over Thilo Kehrer and Ben Johnson and again, is among the experienced players in the squad, but one that will play regularly more likely than not next season, similarly to Aguerd and Soucek.

The defender would be a good option to lead the side and would definitely make a good leader both on and off the pitch.

Given Moyes’ ability to be able to rely on him, especially since Christmas, he would be among the smarter choices.

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