After a very respectable team performance in the Premier League last season, the question which has had me thinking; how would we rate our club in comparison to the other well known regular top-performing clubs in English football?
Although the name of West Ham is synonymous with great football and great players, surely the long term objective is to develop a club which is considered along with the best in Europe, year in year out.
This reflects a regular top four finish in the Premier League, and associated appearances in the Champions League. The realistic view is that such lofty aspirations are not going to make the transition for a period up to five years or so.
Should we not propose setting our short-term sights on attempting to regularly finish in the top five or six, potential success in the Europa League, and a concerted charge at FA Cup honours. Anything short may be an exercise in futility, especially if we are serious about making West Ham a world famous club.
At this stage of proceedings, our main objective is based around expanding and improving the quality of our attacking options.
In summary, two marquee signings, a high quality third striker, retaining Sakho & Valencia as part of a rotational striking duet, and if required, using Michail Antonio as a ‘fill-in’ striker. The issue of Andy Carroll needs fairly urgent consideration.
At the moment, a great deal of interest has been placed on acquiring the services of Carlos Bacca.
Here is an easy, albeit very heretical, solution to the Bacca problem (wage demands).
For a top class striker, £60,000-a-weekk is not overly unreasonable. My crazy solution…
1. Send Andy Carroll back to Sunderland so he can enjoy himself with Sam Allardyce. In doing so, we save ourselves £120k-a-week on a potentially talented player who has not proven himself to be the saviour we needed.
2. Agree to Bacca’s terms, and hope he turns out to be OK.
3. Do everything we can to keep Sakho and Valencia at West Ham, with the hope that they can reignite their wonderful striking partnership from the 2014/5 season. In Sakho, we have a 20-goal a season striker – it just requires the right chemistry to get him motivated again. Lets watch how Valencia plays for Ecuador in the up coming Copa America, especially in the Ecuador v Brazil game.
4. Do everything possible to sign Michy Batshuayi. We may end up spending £55million pounds all up, but we may end up with two marquee strikers we really need. Sakho and/or Valencia could be used on a rotational basis to allow Bacca and Michy to retain fitness through a very long season.
5. If deemed necessary (and if the funds are available) we could always get a third striker for around £10-15m – just a Mr. Reliable who has some record of putting away relatively easy chances made from our midfielders and attacking full-backs. Players like Wilfred Bony, Christian Benteke and Theo Walcott come to mind as examples of players who could fit the bill.
6. Consider using Michail Antonio as an occasional 2nd striker, sitting just behind the main striker. He has had a history of playing as a striker, although I think his best position is at right-wing.
Towards the end of the season, the word that was doing the rounds was that Slav would be given a transfer kitty of around £60m.
On the basis of my propositions, this may involve a total expenditure of around £90million, if we also add in the potential costs of a quality right back.
We may be able to save some money if we are serious of making the intermediate-transition to becoming regulars in the top five or six, as well as regulars in the Europa League, then is it unreasonable to ask our owners to stretch their financial budget to meet these short term, but necessary objectives.
If we are not prepared to splash the cash, there is every possibility that we could fall back into the all too familiar situation of mid-table mediocrity.