I think many of you will back me when I say it has been a tough season for us.
Poor results leave the Hammers in an ugly league position. Going hand-in-hand with this is the poor summer and January transfer window. Listening to Stan Collymore recently, I heard something that seemed very poignant – the board have strengthened the squad rather than the team.
As seen in our debut season at London Stadium the players we have signed have been relatively disappointing.
Players like Alvaro Arbeloa and Håvard Nordtveit are struggling for first team places while underachieving additions like Andre Ayew and José Fonté have left many fans wondering how we can be so unlucky with experienced Premier League players playing poorly for West Ham.
I think to advance in the future seasons we need to strengthen the following areas…
Pablo Zabaleta or Kevin Malcuit?
With the veteran defender’s Man City contract set to run out the end of this current season the Hammers have reportedly approached Zabaleta to sign on a free for the start of next season. It is evident that, even after Sam Byram’s recent good form, a new right back is one of our main priorities.
For me this transfer carries a high level of risk. We have already signed very experienced Champion’s League, World Cup, European Championship and La Liga winner Alvaro Arbeloa in very similar circumstances to the potential Zabaleta deal.
As many fans will tell you, Arbeloa’s transfer has been far from impressive. With very few appearances and some shaky performances Arbeloa now struggles to find a way into the first team.
After hearing reports of interest in young Saint Etienne right-back Kévin Malcuit, I can only say that this is an anticlimactic rumour.
Kévin Malcuit would be the much better option for West Ham at this moment in time. His youth over Zabaleta would give him time to develop and settle into the squad.
He has much more pace and is an athletic player, far more so than Zabaleta. Valued at a cheap £10m in today’s market, I would like to see the Malcuit transfer happen this summer.
Forget Lacazette or Mandzukic, why not Immobile?
Another key area crying out for improvement is the striker position. We’ve really lacked clinical goal scorers for many years. In the previous summer window many fans were left feeling let down after our promised ‘World Class centre forward’ ended up being a combination on Simone Zaza and Andre Ayew, both of which have been underwhelming additions to the team.
A player who we have been linked with in the past is Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. This now looks an almost impossible signing given his great form and our poor season but the France international would be a dream signing.
More realistically, a Croatian journalist has confirmed that Bilic will sign ageing Croatian target man Mario Mandzukic. Mandzukic seems to be one of those players we are linked with every single summer, but it never happens!
A signing like this should only be completed under desperate circumstances and we should look elsewhere. Mandzukic would be too similar to Andy Carroll in playing style so the two together would not work as effectively as a smaller, faster player.
With an apparent second bust-up between Bilic and Sakho, we should look to sign a striker similar to the Senegal international.
Ciro Immobile from Lazio in Italy would be a dream signing. The Italian has 26 goals in 42 appearances so far this season. His pace, strength and all-round clinical nature would be a brilliant addition to our side and with good service from players like Manuel Lanzini, should allow him to apply his strengths in the Premier League.
Try again for Ivan Perisic?
Finally, a player we have been linked with in previous years is Croatia and Inter Milan midfielder Ivan Perisic. The playmaker has played under Bilic for the national team and Bilic rates him incredibly highly.
Perisic could easily jump straight into our first team, playing either on the wing or through the middle.
As many fans would agree, the board owe us some incredible, big money signings and spending big money on players like Immobile, Malcuit and Perisic would bring some positivity and real world class quality back into our side, since the departure of a certain French playmaker left us lacking in some areas.
As always feel free to tweet me your opinions and feelings on the topics mentioned in this article – @LouisFrench12. All the best and COYI!