Europa qualification may be key to Cresswell’s West Ham stay

After a fantastic debut season at West Ham, Aaron Cresswell topped it off by sweeping the top gongs at the club’s official awards dinner, but will it be enough to keep him at the club?

Since arriving at the east London outfit from Ipswich, the 25-year-old has completed a transition from Championship player to Premier League competitor in simple fashion.

His displays saw him take the Hammers Player of the Year, Players’ Player and Best Signing of the Season awards at a glitzy bash in central London on Wednesday with nods of approval emanating from various club figures.

But as so often is the case in football, success is only going to breed interest. Despite the fact he is in his maiden season with the Hammers, the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with summer moves.

His current club do not need to sell, and have said that they are not interested in any deals, but with Cresswell’s boyhood club Liverpool also rumoured to be in the mix, could his head be turned?

The reaction he has received from the West Ham faithful will go some way to adorning them to his heart, but any desire to play European football could prove a turning point.

It’s perfectly apt then that his current employers could be on target to do just what his old side Ipswich did back in 2002, and qualify for Europe via a somewhat unorthodox method.

As it stands the Premier League is one of the trio of competitions in line to receive an extra Europa League spot through the UEFA Fair Play league.

Liverpool are currently top of Fair Play Table, though they hold an advantage of just 0.25 points over the Hammers with four games left to play.

The Irons may not even need to overhaul the Reds at the top of the standings to seal that unlikely European spot, though they will have to watch out for Everton back in third.

The Anfield outfit currently occupy fifth place in the Premier League so look to already have a Europa League place sealed, meaning the potential extra representative would go to the next side in the Fair Play standings.

So with confirmation of the best performing leagues announced in the coming days, and those extra slots confirmed, expect the Hammers clash against Everton on May 16 to be one of a friendly nature.

Qualify for Europe , and West Ham will surely not only retain the services of their hot-shot full-back, but would attract a whole new level of player to the East End.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.