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  • Exclusive by Alessandro Schiavone

Nayef Aguerd: "I don't know if West Ham are better than last season! Declan Rice..."

Exclusive by Alessandro Schiavone

For Nayef Aguerd it's anyone's guess to determine whether West Ham have actually improved from last season

The Hammers sit in 7th place in the Premier League after picking up a creditable 14 points from a possible 24 after eight matches. 


In the Europa League they are top of the table following two wins in as many games with the latter, in Freiburg, being sealed by the Moroccan centre-back’s headed winner after unwrapping the keeper's gift.


On current form it looks as though the Hammers won’t be dragged into yet another relegation battle which was the case 12 months ago. 


But for Aguerd it’s too soon to “jump to a conclusion” as he emphasises what big a player the departed Declan Rice was. 


Asked whether they have upgraded, he exclusively told Capital Football: "I can't tell, Declan Rice was an important player for us. But he decided to quit and we're very happy for him because he plays in the Champions League, let's not forget that.  


“The club recruited wisely, signing quality players like Edson Alvarez in midfield, James Ward-Prowse and Kudus and along with Paquetà we're well stocked in this position.  


“However, I don't know if we're better or worse, we'll see at the end of the season.


“It's too early to jump to a conclusion, we'll have to wait to to see where we will be. But we have a great squad and will play every game to win it." 


When available for selection, the former Rennes defender has started each of the Hammers’ Premier League games.


He only sat out one encounter after serving a one-game suspension at Brighton & Hove Albion after his name had been taken twice against Chelsea the previous weekend. 


And he's not too fussy about who he prefers to be partnered by between the Italian, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Kurt Zouma. 


But the flexible 27-year-old admitted that there’s a great chemistry with the Frenchman both professionally and privately. 


He said: "I get on with everyone but with Zouma I have a great relationship on and off the pitch.  


“I am a lad who adapts to situations and tries to give his all. Then it comes down to the manager's choices, I am only a footballer.  


“My mission on the pitch is to defend, help keep clean sheets and try to win. But I can adapt to any partner." 


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