Done By : Vinny Ryan (@vinnywhufc)
West Ham United finished the 2015/16 campaign just four points off Champions League football which saw the club go from one of the worst footballing sides in the country under Sam Allardyce to an attractive and effective team under manager Slaven Bilic.
Under the leadership of Bilic West Ham achieved their record number of points since the Premiership began in 1992. To improve on this points tally and to break into the top five is going to be very difficult given that Chelsea and Manchester United surely can’t have another terrible season and have both attempted to strengthen their squads.
West Ham’s transfer window has not been what most West Ham fans would have hoped with owner David Sullivan giving false hope that a major signing was coming in the summer months.
Unlike previous summers West Ham have tried to bring in players above the usual bar of realistic targets. I understand why the club have done this with the new stadium, a strong previous campaign and one of the current top 10 footballers in the world playing his trade at the club.
But at the end of the day players like to go with well known big clubs. It’s not the money West Ham can’t offer, it’s not even the wages – it’s the stature. If a player is going to leave their club to come to the Premiership they will want to be playing for a Champions League club and if not they will take their pick of the next available teams who has big aspirations to do so (Manchester United and Chelsea).
Some fans have been critical of the West Ham owners this summer but if they had simply gone into the transfer window with the ambition to buy players who might be decent but no better than what we have they would have been slated for not being ambitious enough.
West Ham have signed French left back Arthur Masuaku from Olympiakos as the club look to ease the problems at full back which have become even more desperate since the injury to Aaron Cresswell.
Andre Ayew was brought in from Swansea City for a club record fee of £20m. From what I have seen of Ayew he is a decent player and I am sure he will score a few goals but if you are going to tell me that he’s much better than Diafra Sakho then I’ll probably disagree on what I have seen so far.
This is not to say Ayew is a bad signing, but I think when you are linked with much better quality and it is clear the club are trying to bring in a higher standard of player to end up signing a player that adds to but does necessarily improve the team is a bit underwhelming.
Of course I may look back at this in a years’ time as Ayew has scored 20 goals and wonder why I ever doubted it but on the evidence of his first season in English football I think he is a good player but not really what we require to compete with the top 6 of English football.
The signings of Feghouli and Tore are interesting ones but as someone who knows little about football outside the UK know little about them. We haven’t really seen Tore play at all in pre season and Feghouli looks tricky and should add a further creative spark to a team with wonderful players like Payet and Lanzini.
Final Position and Criticism
Make no mistake of it – my ambition is for West Ham to finish in the top 6 this season. How anyone can dismiss that after what happened last season is quite astonishing. The lack of respect West Ham, Tottenham, Leicester and Southampton have been paid after the last campaign is typical of the media and typical of the modern day football fan who laps up anything they are told.
You’d actually think that Liverpool had more chance of winning the league than Tottenham with the way people go on.
West Ham fans were told off by the media for even suggesting that we could do better than Sam Allardyce and I am sure many will say that last season was as good as it’s going to get but I have a greater ambition for the team and still believe that Slaven Bilic is the man to bring the club forward even further.
Summer isn’t over yet
I still hold out hope that West Ham will bring in a player before the end of the transfer window that will give the Hammers the edge and have the impact that Payet had last time around.
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