Why Slaven Bilic bid could spell the end for Mr West Ham as Mark Noble future is called into question

Mark Noble of West Ham United looks on during a Pre Season Friendly between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Laugardalsvollur stadium on August 4, 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

West Ham United have been linked with a record bid for Portugal midfield star William Carvalho and that could spend the end for Mark Noble.

Mr West Ham, the homegrown Hammer with claret and blue blood pumping through his veins.

That's a pretty apt description of Slaven Bilic's captain Mark Noble.

But a distinct lack of pace and athleticism in an increasingly competitive and super quick Premier League has left the former Croatia boss and his most trusted lieutenant in something of a quandary.

Noble, as a player, quite literally splits West Ham fans down the middle. As a man he is respected and adored - with his 35,000 sellout testimonial exhibit A.

Mark Noble of West Ham United looks on during a Pre Season Friendly between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Laugardalsvollur stadium on August 4, 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The skipper is also an integral part of the dressing room and will provide a consistent level of performance over the course of a season.

But in harsh reality he is holding West Ham back on the pitch.

The Premier League is increasingly unforgiving to players - particularly midfielders - who don't possess mobility and pace.

As it stands with a fully fit squad it is tough to make a case for Noble to make West Ham's starting XI.

On the assumption Bilic plays a front three of Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio behind Javier Hernandez it leaves just three midfield spaces which would be taken up by Manuel Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang.

Many would also concede that young Edimilson Fernandes is ahead of Noble having impressed nearly everytime he plays while fans were disappointed to see another emerging central midfield talent, Josh Cullen, loaned out to Bolton.

So Noble's future as a first team starter looks even less certain after news that the Hammers have bid a club record fee to sign holding midfield star William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon.

Links also persist to Arsenal's Jack Wilshere - himself a boyhood West Ham fan - another central midfielder.

In an ideal world Noble would accept his limitations and a place on the bench as first team back-up.

Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic, Manager of West Ham United host a press conference for children during a West Ham United family fun day at London Stadium on February 15, 2017 in London,...Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic share a superb relationship

But that would be so uncharacteristic of a player who prides himself on being the heartbeat of the side.

Noble would be a superb Championship player and if West Ham truly want to challenge the Premier League elite they need a much more talented and imposing figure at the heart of their midfield.

He rarely lets West Ham down, but Noble must be realistic with himself and perhaps a sub role and concentrating on his captain's duties around the dressing room and training ground is how he can contribute most to the club this season.

Whether the player can accept that remains to be seen but it gives Bilic a tough call to make.

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