The Europa League has already reached the semi-finals, with four clubs competing against each other for a chance of reaching the final.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has revealed which team he expects to push to their limits this season and claim the prize. According to the Englishman, Premier League outfit West Ham United currently have what it takes to outdo the remaining clubs in the tournament.
He told Sky Sports (via Manchester Evening News):
“I think West Ham will win the Europa League, I think they will be too strong for the other teams in it. I think they are a good team and next season there will be Champions League football.”
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.
However, Paul Merson believes the Hammers can keep the midfielder if they win the Europa League this season. He explained:
“If that happens [winning the Europa League], it will be difficult to get out of the club, because then he will have to turn around and say, ‘You’re not big enough for me.’ If they don’t respond, he may 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 difficult one, he could be a legend at West Ham. He plays every week, he plays for England, it’s a difficult one.”
“West Ham showed a lot of confidence in this boy. He was let go by Chelsea as a young boy and West Ham took him. Of course he 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 semi-finals of the Europa League. The first leg of the draw will be played at London Stadium on April 28, while the first leg takes place on May 5.
Should they get past the German club, West Ham will face whoever comes out on top in the tie between RB Leipzig and Rangers in the final.
It remains to be seen if they can push themselves to the limit this season and claim the prize.