West Ham slipped to a third successive Premier League defeat following a 3-2 home loss to champions Leicester on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic’s men gave themselves a mountain to climb after going 2-0 down inside seven minutes, with Riyad Mahrez’s cross nestling into the corner of the net five minutes in, and then Robert Huth taking advantage of slack marking to make it two shortly after.
Manuel Lanzini’s stunning free-kick halved the home side’s arrears midway through the first period, yet Jamie Vardy restored the Foxes’ two-goal lead eight minutes before the break, and although Andre Ayew got one back for Bilic’s men in the second half, they couldn’t prevent a seventh home loss of the season.
It means that the Hammers slip to 12th in the Premier League table, nine points clear of danger, but no win in five will be of concern to manager Bilic, who may already be thinking about who he could sign to bolster his squad in the summer.
And one man they have been linked to in recent days is Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney, who has struggled for gametime at Old Trafford this season under Jose Mourinho.
The 31-year-old has started just nine times for the Red Devils this term, and West Ham boss Bilic should do all he can to bring him to the London Stadium this summer.
That’s because Rooney still has the quality that can benefit and help this Hammers squad.
The England captain has managed at least ten goals in all 12 of his seasons at United, and although he has only netted five so far this time round, he has laid on five assists, and of course netted the all-important equaliser away to Stoke back in January – the goal that saw him become the club’s all-time record goal-scorer.
Although he isn’t starting or even appearing as much as before, Rooney is still affecting the game often enough, directly contributing to 15 goals in his 30 appearances for United this season.
More importantly for West Ham, the forward would bring much-needed experience and a winning mentality to a side that harbour ambitions of reaching European football over the coming years.
The Hammers have found it difficult to replicate last season’s seventh place finish in the Premier League, but there’s no doubt that the structure, facilities, and foundations are there for Bilic’s men to push on and become a feature in European competition.
And Rooney is the sort of star man which could persuade others to move there, but also give the whole place a lift, especially following the departure of their star man Dimitri Payet in January.
Manuel Lanzini has gone some way in trying to fill Payet’s boots, but he cannot do it all on his own, and Rooney could give them that creative spark, that defence-splitting pass, that stunning strike, which could win them games.
Furthermore, Rooney would give them another option in many areas of the pitch, be it as another striker to bolster that department, or an attacking midfielder just behind the likes of Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio – he is also adept at playing slightly deeper and controlling things from there.
Ultimately, Rooney will want to play, and if you add in the fact that he is still England captain and will still want to play for his country, then a move away where he’d play much more regularly than at United makes sense for all parties involved.
The options are endless – it would be a huge statement of intent from Bilic and the club to bring someone like Rooney to the London Stadium, both in terms of the club’s growing stature, but also their quest to move up the Premier League table and knock on the door of the European spots.