West Ham loan stars face losing battle to earn permanent deals
16:00 15 April 2014
It looks like home loans for all but the impressive Pablo Almero among West Ham’s loan signings
West Ham’s loan players have just four games to prove themselves worthy of a new contract at Upton Park, but at the moment, only one of them seems likely to be signing on the dotted line.
Italian duo Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello have hardly set the squad alight since their arrival in January, while Roger Johnson is seen only as a stop gap because of the defender crisis at the club at the turn of the year.
That leaves Colombian international full back Pablo Armero as the only player likely to earn themselves a full time deal when the season finishes in May.
The 27-year-old, who is on loan from Italian Serie A club Napoli, has waited a long time for a chance, as Joey O’Brien and George McCartney have been ahead of him in the pecking order.
He came on as a second-half substitute at Sunderland in the 2-1 win and then played 90 minutes in the home clash with Liverpool, impressing with his pace and tackling ability against the league leaders.
“I was very pleased with Pablo’s performance against Liverpool,” said manager Sam Allardyce this week.
“I think he has waited patiently for his chance and did really well. Antonio has not played as much as he would have liked, but he has come on as a substitute, so we will see what part he will play at the end of the season.”
Nocerino has certainly not impressed in his appearances so far in midfield, with his one start – against Stoke City – ending after 76 minutes and just one useful free-kick. The AC Milan midfielder has made seven substitute appearances without making a real impression and unless he finds top form in the last four games, the 29-year-old is likely to be returning to Italy.
The hopes of Borriello seem even more remote. The 31-year-old Roma asset made just two substitute appearances before injuring his calf and like Mladen Petric earlier in the campaign, he has disappeared without trace.
“Unfortunately Marco has sustained a calf injury which has kept him out of the picture for quite a while,” admitted Allardyce.
“Marco is struggling, but we will take a view at the end of the season and hopefully he and some of the others will play again before the end of the season.”
Johnson has certainly let nobody down in the six appearances he has made in claret and blue, but the Wolves loan man is almost certainly going back to the club who have just returned to the Championship.
All in all, Armero seems to be the only one of the four who we are likely to see at Upton Park next season.