After their second season back in the Premier League, West Ham United achieved a 13th place finish, 3 places lower than last season and 6 fewer points. Sam Allardyce’s teams have always been fantastic at defending, but have never played the most attractive football either, as seen at his previous jobs with Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn.
Many West Ham fans feel his time is up as manager and want somebody who can bring a more attacking game, but sustain the defensive side of it too. However, I think there is a possibility Allardyce can stay manager and with the right additions alongside adapting his tactics and style to suit what the fans and the board want, he can help fire the Hammers towards a top half finish.
It’s clear that they lacked goals this season, with Kevin Nolan finishing top scorer with 7 goals, and £15 million striker Andy Carroll only scoring 2 during an injury-hit season. As for a striker, I think they could do with looking at Michy Batshuayi from Standard Leige. The 20 year old Belgian striker managed 18 goals in 29 games in the Belgian league last season, an impressive return for a young striker. Standing at 5″10, Batshuayi would add something different to the attack for West Ham with his pace and direct running.
Another option could be Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou of relegated Fulham. He only managed 1 start for Fulham since joining for £12 million in January, but his previous impressive goalscoring record at Olympiakos indicates he has an eye for goal. A final option could be Dynamo Kyiv striker Admir Mehmedi, who scored 12 goals in the Bundesliga last season on loan at SC Freiburg. The 6 foot Swiss frontman is a physical striker but also has a decent turn of pace and can play on either wing or behind a lone forward. With Carlton Cole gone and the same expected to happen to Modibo Maiga, it may be the case that West Ham go in for 2 of these strikers.
Another reason for their lack of goals could be not enough creativity coming from the midfield. The midfield has normally included players like Mohamed Diame, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing, with the latter 2 playing on either wing. They also have England Under-21 international Ravel Morrison available again next season, after spending the second half of the season out on loan at QPR.
However, there are reports he is unhappy under Allardyce and may seek a move elsewhere. I think it’s vital they hold onto him as his trickery can become an important asset to West Ham’s future and take the place of Kevin Nolan. There are a few players in midfield like Jack Collison, Alou Diarra and Matt Taylor, who are likely to leave the club this summer to allow more players to come in.
One option could be Jake Livermore, who had an excellent season on loan at Hull and may be sold as part of a summer clear out by his parent club, Tottenham Hotspur. He has a fantastic passing range, strength and could definitely add something to West Ham’s midfield. Another option could be Norwich City winger, Robert Snodgrass, who has a great engine and can definitely put in a good cross, as well as being a powerful kind of player. Also Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero could also be an option and his pace and skill could certainly cause problems in the Premier League, he managed 5 goals and 3 assists in 15 games for Monacras Moreila of the Mexican 1st division.
Defensively, there isn’t much wrong with West Ham. It seems likely Pablo Armero will make a permanent move to West Ham to fill the left back position. They have 3 very good centre backs in Winston Reid, James Tomkins and James Collins. A new right back will be needed, and Phil Bardsley – who is a solid option – could be the man to fill this void as it looks possible he could leave Sunderland this summer (as his contract is due to expire). There is also a chance the Hammers could go for free agent Joelon Lescott after he is set to be released by Manchester City, although wages could prove to be a problem. It’s also been reported they’ve made a bid for Stuttgart’s 6″3 centre back Antonio Rudiger for around £7 million, although he may be considered a more first team option.
So overall, I think with at least 1 good striker, 2 wingers, a midfielder, right back and possibly another centre back along with an adaption of tactics, West Ham stand a great chance of making the top half in the next few seasons and challenging for Europe in the future.