West Ham have suffered a major blow ahead of the busy festive period with Manuel Pellegrini confirming, in comments reported by Football London, that Marko Arnautovic is likely to be out for around a month.
Arnautovic was taken off during the early stages of the win over Cardiff City on Tuesday, and is now going to miss some crucial fixtures for the Irons.
Lucas Perez has certainly staked his claim to be the man to replace Arnautovic after he scored a brace against the Bluebirds in the 3-1 win. Unsurprisingly, Pellegrini was full of praise for the former Arsenal man.
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Pellegrini's comments on Arnautovic's absence and Perez's two goals was the inclusion of summer signing, Xande Silva in the list of options that the West Ham boss is prepared to turn to while the Irons' talisman is missing.
"The important thing is when they have the chance, they take the chance," he said, as reported by Football London, when asked about Perez's display. "Now with the long injury to Marko, Andy Carroll is back now as well and Perez, Javier Hernandez, Xande Silva, so I hope that with all of them they will recover the absence of Marko."
Silva is yet to make his debut for the Hammers first-team following his summer arrival. But it appears to be a matter of time with the 21-year-old scoring seven goals in just six appearances for the under-23s in Premier League 2.
Presumably, he is behind the other names Pellegrini mentioned in the pecking order. But it is certainly an encouraging sign that he has been mentioned in the same sentence as the likes of Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez.
And while Pellegrini will want to avoid anymore injuries - especially while Arnautovic is out - perhaps the manager's comments highlight that he has the faith in Silva to throw him in if he is needed in the coming weeks.
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