The Europa League has already reached the semi-final stage, with four clubs set to battle one another for a chance to reach the final.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has revealed which team he expects to go all the way and claim the prize this season. According to the Englishman, Premier League outfit West Ham United have what it takes to outclass the remaining clubs in the tournament right now.
He told Sky Sports (via Manchester Evening News):
“I think West Ham will win the Europa League, I think they’ll be too strong for the other teams in it. I think they’re a good team, and there’ll be Champions League football next season.”
One of West Ham’s biggest challenges will be to keep their star midfielder Declan Rice at the London Stadium beyond this season amid interest from Manchester United.
Paul Merson, however, believes the Hammers will be able to retain the midfielder if they win the Europa League this season. He explained:
“If that happens [winning the Europa League], it’s going to be hard to get out of the club, because then he’ll have to turn around and say, ‘You’re not big enough for me.’ If they don’t get into it, then he can turn around and say, ‘I need Champions League football.'”
“He could get that at West Ham, so it’s a bit of a catch. It’s a hard one, he could be a legend at West Ham. He plays every week, he plays for England, it’s a hard one.
“West Ham showed a lot of faith in this lad. He got let go by Chelsea as a young kid, and West Ham took him. Of course he’s paid them back at the same time.”
Who are West Ham’s next opponents in the Europa League?
West Ham will take on Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the semifinals of the Europa League. The first leg of the tie will be played at the London Stadium on April 28, while the second leg will take place on May 5.
Should they edge past the German club, West Ham will face whoever comes out on top from the tie between RB Leipzig and Rangers in the final.
It remains to be seen if they can go all the way and claim the prize this season.