Opinion: West Ham would be wrong to send 24-year-old to exit door

West Ham United midfielder Josh Cullen has been linked with a move away from East London in the final days of the transfer window, with talk of a potential loan deal with Belgian giants Anderlecht.

While the 24-year-old is not a first-choice player for David Moyes, the Hammers youth-team graduate offers something different in the heart of the team – and as such should be kept at the London Stadium.

West Ham are overly reliant on Declan Rice, Mark Noble and Tomas Soucek in the heart of the side, but all three are relatively regimented and defensive-minded in their outlook.

One of the issues holding the Hammers back is a delay in midfield – the ball, once won back, is not played forward to the attacking players quickly enough.

Cullen has shown in his cameo appearances for West Ham that he looks to be expansive and forward-thinking when in possession.

The Republic of Ireland international impressed when given the chance in the Carabao Cup earlier this season and was unlucky not to get more time on the pitch as he was forced to self-isolate.

Cullen, at 24, is now at the stage in his career where he needs to be playing regular football and his West Ham tenure appears to be at a crossroads.

No longer a young talent, the midfielder is good enough to play Premier League football and should be trusted by Moyes to feature for the Hammers – if not from the start, as an impact substitute or rotated option.

West Ham could certainly use a bit more direction and impetus in the heart of the team – Cullen could well be a surprise way to add these attributes without spending any money.