West Ham avoided disaster by securing their Premier League status for next season, but it's fair to say their supporters weren't exactly thrilled with the football on display in the London Stadium.
None of that came as a shock. In the year 2020, it is unlikely a David Moyes team will be playing the most exciting brand of football. While he may had some good footballing teams at Everton a decade ago, he hasn't moved with the times.
Their 49 goals this season are from the worst in the division, although that stat is inflated by a few bigs wins against this season's relegated teams. However, the football was fairly dire to watch for long periods.
One of the main advancements in football over the last few years has been the evolution of the modern fullback. No longer just in the team to subdue opposition wingers and swing in the occasional hopeful cross, they are now viewed as integral parts to any successful dynamic attack.
Liverpool are the perfect example of this, but a quick look around the European leagues will show you that the vast majority of successful teams rely on offensive right and left backs to some degree.
Unsurprisingly, this is something lacking in the current West Ham team. During the 2019/20 season, their fullbacks contributed a combined three goals and four assists.
All three goals came from Aaron Cresswell before December, with the left back not contributing a single goal or assist from that point on. Right back Ryan Fredericks produced three of the assists. It is clear that if West Ham are to evolve into a top half team, they will need bigger contributions from this area of the pitch.
Step forward Ryan Manning.
The QPR left back enjoyed a brilliant season in the Championship, being revitalised after becoming a permanent fixture at left back. The stats show that he was the most creative defender in the division.
— Jack Supple (@JTSupple) July 7, 2020
His form has been so impressive that he has probably played his way out of Loftus Road. The Galway native has only 12 months remaining on his contract, and with negotiations on a new deal going nowhere, he looks nailed on to leave QPR this summer.
There would be no shortage of Championship interest in his services, but a Premier League move looks the most likely at this stage. West Ham have been the most frequently linked club and it would seem like a logical deal.
It is thought Manning could be available for as little as £2million given his contract situation, making this a no-brainer for West Ham.
As a defender, Manning played assisted or scored 16% of QPR's goals in the 2019/20 season, a number none of David Moyes' players could come even close to. Admittedly the Premier League would be a step up, but the left back has the traits that could allow him to thrive in a less physical division.
He is also durable, having played the full 90 minutes in all 41 of his Championship appearances over the last 12 months. Having just turned 24-years old, Manning is now ready to take the next step in his career.
A quick look at some of his highlights from the campaign will tell you all you need to know about his talents.
— zwodde (@zwoddeytb) June 20, 2020
— Charlie Ashcroft (@charlieashcroft) March 7, 2020
It is worth mentioning that the Irishman does still have some defensive frailties, but that should become less of an issue as he gains more experience in the position.
West Ham need some offensive output from left back.
Arthur Masuaku looked like he could provide that for a period, putting in some strong performances towards the end of the 2017/18 season. However, he has failed to his those heights since, with injuries and discipline a concern.
Aaron Cresswell has held the left back position at the club for over half a decade, but he doesn't offer the qualities desired in a modern fullback. Ryan Manning does.
West Ham should attempt to wrap this deal up as soon as possible, with other clubs no doubt beginning circle.