West Ham finished the season on a high by climbing up to 11th with a final day victory over Burnley at Turf Moor. But there is real room for improvement and they need to invest in quality in all departments if they are to break into the top half of the table next season. Slaven Bilic said as much himself after the Burnley game.

“We don’t need squad players,” he told the official site prior to their last game of the season. “Take our last game against Liverpool. We were without eight players but still had a decent team so that shows that squad-wise, with the quantity of the players, we are okay. We would like to improve the quality in certain positions but I don’t want to talk about names now. But hopefully we are going to be successful in finishing those transfers. Most of the players are linked with West Ham, the big majority of those are rumours, there’s no truth in them.”

That is slightly disappointing for West Ham fans as they are being linked with some very good players indeed. But Bilic’s words are reassuring: fans will be more excited about big name signings than journeyman squad players. The rumour mill is set to go into overdrive, and the names mentioned so far would certainly improve the team, even if only a fraction of them are seriously being considered for a transfer by Bilic and his team.

It is clear the Hammers need more firepower. Andy Carroll is a wonderful asset when fit, a great battering ram of a centre forward who is peerless in his aerial ability, surprisingly deft of foot and a superb finisher. He brings the best out of the players around him and gives the entire team a boost when he plays. The problem is, it sadly seems that Carroll will never get a full season under his belt. Year after year he is dogged by injuries, and going forwards he should be considered a bonus rather than a pillar of the side. That means West Ham need more strikers. Michail Antonio has done well, but the team could do with more out and out forwards.

Michy Batshuayi could thrive at West Ham, with the Chelsea youngster perhaps moving on during the summer. He has bags of potential and could do with game time, so he is another that could complement what the club already has. Kelechi Iheanacho is another striker who could be moving on in the coming weeks and the Man City man has proven he knows how to find the back of the net in the little game time he’s had.

A review of Intertops Sports will show that West Ham are outsiders to finish in the top six next season. Right now they are around 13/8 just to finish in the top 10. But if they do some smart transfer business they should easily make it, and that looks a great investment.