The beginning of the season is nearly upon us and we are still waiting on the much-needed signing of quality strikers to consummate our future dreams.
While Jonathan Calleri seems destined to join our club, we may not see him playing for at least two weeks. Eventually other players will arrive, but we have a number of short-term challenges which must be addressed within a week or so.
However, before we look for new players, a most un-likely proposition may have come to light during our recently completed friendly games in Austria.
In particular, the last game against Karlsruher demonstrated an interesting striking set-up, which may prove to be more than adequate for our immediate needs.
Andy Carroll scored a great headed goal from a beautiful curling cross by Enner Valencia. At long last, Slaven Bilic has given Valencia a good chance to show his credentials. While Valencia has had a great striking record for the Ecuador national team, his form for West Ham has been patchy.
However, in these last three friendlies, he seems to be rejuvenated, always joining in the scoring celebrations, and once again, showing the familiar smiling face which we saw in Sam Alllardyce’s last season as manager.
While his potential is undoubted until now, we have seen only patches of his abilities. Unlike Diafra Sakho, who declined the chance to play in Austria, Valencia may have suddenly regained some motivation and form, just as he was set to leave for Lazio.
If he has gained some much needed self-confidence, he could be given a starting role with Andy Carroll as part of a very useful striking duo. Valencia is still as fast as ever, which allows him to play wide or as a central striker.
In addition, he could play off the shoulder of Andy Carroll, which reduces the need for him to be a stronger force as a lone striker.
He possesses a thunderous shot, which, sadly, has been seen on very few occasions.
An improved contract, together with an improved relationship with the gaffer, may help to rejuvenate his career in much the same way as Mauro Zarate did early last season.
Unlike Diafra Sakho, he seems to have behaved in a manner which would appeal to a manager who has little time for infantile impudence.
In addition to Carroll and Valencia, we can use young Ashley Fletcher to help us score the goals. Eventually the high quality players will arrive, providing us with an exciting pool of around 4-5 strikers within the squad and to put away the gilt-edged chances provided by the likes of Payet, Lanzini, Kouyate, Noble and Cresswell.