It’s less than a week until we’ll be celebrating the start of a brand new Premier League season!
The club have been very active in the transfer market, with Enner Valencia, Havard Nordtviet, Ashley Fletcher and Darren Randolph being sold. Josh Cullen, Reece Burke and Reece Oxford have all left on loan to gain vital experience at higher levels and we’ve seen a number of contracts expire.
Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Chicharito have all signed on the dotted line to strengthen the squad and we’ve seen Michail Antonio, Angelo Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang all renew their contracts.
However, after the recent 3-0 defeat in Iceland to title challengers Manchester City, it’s clear that work still needs to be done in the transfer market to improve the team even further.
Cheikhou Kouyate, Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini, Antonio and Aaron Cresswell were all at Rush Green training centre to try and recover from their injuries, so although the defeat to the Citizens can be quite demoralising on paper, it’s safe to say that the core of the first team are still waiting to return, which will reinstate the squad depth somewhat.
Diafra Sakho and Sofiane Feghouli have been training at Rush Green looking to improve their fitness in readiness for potential moves away from the club. So, there is movement in the squad for further investment in high quality starting players. It is reported that there is still some cash available from the transfer budget after having a net spend of £10m, around £15m could also be added.
Slaven Bilic and his team returned to London last weekend to rest for a couple of days after having a tough pre-season that consisted of visits to Austria, Germany and Iceland. We’ve seen Declan Rice and Toni Martinez thrive in the senior team and have definitely given Bilic something to think about for the season ahead.
The real hard work begins now, putting all the summer training to good use and focusing on an important first game away at Manchester United, whilst keeping an eye out for the right players to improve the squad.
I feel the squad could do with another striker and another holding midfielder. With the money earned over the summer, we would be in profit after selling Sakho and Feghouli. I feel that Jack Wilshire is most likely to be a West Ham player before the international break either on loan or bought outright, so that’s the holding midfielder position sorted.
However, I feel David Sullivan has something very special in his locker and it is all about timing. As he stated on talkSPORT, the longer the interest goes on, the value of the player decreases and it’s all about getting a deal that is beneficial for the club at the right price.
If I was putting a bet on for another striker to come in, I would bank on Michy Batshuayi coming to the club in a £30m+ deal. He has been in good form this summer but with the arrival of Alvaro Morata I cannot see him sitting on the Chelsea bench for much longer.
Chelsea are making further enquiries for ‘better’ strikers and are yet to sell Diego Costa, so I predict that Batshuayi will feature in the first three games of the season for the Blues before being sold to allow for Chelsea to sign another star striker.
We’ve seen numerous rumours on social media about players coming and going, but realistically there won’t be any real significant movements until after the Newcastle United away game. We need to back the squad we currently have and stop picking at it.
It’s a good squad when you compare it with other mid-table Premier League teams and the squad it suited to the upcoming fixture run. Let’s focus on the players we have rather than the players we might have – and back Snodgrass! He wasn’t Hull’s most influential player for no reason. He has the ability, he just lacks the confidence and that is all down to fan revolt. Put yourself in his boots, having 60k Hammers fans on your back every other week.
After the Man United game, we could see a the Hammers in the top siz places early in the season – it’s just a question as to whether they can stay there for the entire season with a tough winter period, a fruitful spring and dreadful early summer and end of season run.