West Ham have one of the most decorated histories in English football and it appears that they are making significant strides towards competing in the top half of the table again. Sam Allardyce has laid a platform at the club to push on for greater things. The Englishman looked like he had taken the club as far as he could as West Ham struggled to build on a good first half of the season. This summer the club have the opportunity to improve once again if they appoint the correct manager and get their recruitment right which they did last summer. An unexpected bonus of qualifying for the Europa League through fair play could see the club accelerate their plans to become a fixture in the top eight.
The first item on the agenda is to fill the vacant managers position and with Europa League football, the caliber of manager they can attract will be slightly higher. There have been rumours gathering that the club have a shortlist that includes Unai Emery, Frank de Boer, Marcelo Bielsa and Slaven Bilic, all very accomplished managers in Europe and it shows the ambition that is present at Upton Park. With the move to the Olympic Stadium happening in the near future, it’s clear that David Gold and David Sullivan want to emerge as one of the top eight clubs in the division and they are going about it in the right way.
This season was a positive one for West Ham as their signings Aaron Cresswell, Carl Jenkinson, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Alex Song all came in and added a lot of quality to a side which struggled in 2013/14. It is now crucial for the board at West Ham to secure both Jenkinson and Song on permanent contracts as they both settled in well at Upton Park and they will be difficult to replace. With a Europa League campaign to deal with, the club will also need to improve the squad depth and try to ensure that they don’t suffer in the league like Swansea, Newcastle and Everton have done in the past when playing in the Europa League.
West Ham may opt to strengthen across the pitch this summer, but it looks like the priorities will be at centre back, on the wing and a forward. They will also look to bring in a centre midfielder and a right back if they can’t keep Song and Jenkinson.
The club will be delighted at being able to extend the contract of Winston Reid, who did look like he was going to leave the club this summer, but they will be on the lookout for a quality defender to play alongside him. They will also be looking to strengthen on the wing as they could do with some extra quality out wide. The club have tended to do their business abroad in the past 12 months, so I’d expect the majority of players to be signed from outside the UK, but one player linked to them in recent weeks is Javier Hernandez. The Manchester United player could be available if Real Madrid don’t extend his stay in Spain and he would provide a lot of quality to the side’s frontline.
The Hammers may have to sell some of their big name players, who aren’t adding too much to the side and taking big wages. Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll could be two big departures this summer as the club look to be moving away from the long ball game.
West Ham are moving in a positive direction and the fans may finally get a team that plays the West Ham way. All of the names linked to the manager’s job play attractive football and would be welcomed at Upton Park. Some Premier League clubs lack ambition and are just happy to pick up the TV money every year, but that couldn’t be further from the truth at West Ham, where exciting times lie ahead.