Consecutive finishes in the bottom half of the table. An ageing and under-performing squad. A new manager. A restless fanbase demanding change. All of this suggests West Ham are a club in need of an overhaul in their playing staff.
With David Gold firmly stating that West Ham will “probably” spend an unprecedented amount on transfers this summer, it looks likely there will be at least some new faces in the dressing room next August.
Manuel Pellegrini has added more fuel to the speculation bonfire by insisting he wants four-to-five new players in the squad before next season.
But which positions need addressing and who could be brought in to fill these holes?
1 Tom Heaton
A new number one seems likely to be a priority for the Clarets.
With both Joe Hart and Adrián failing to make the keeper’s position their own, Edouard Mendy of Reims has emerged as a favoured target in the press.
A better target could well be a keeper who is already proven in the Premier League.
Nick Pope has proved himself more than capable this season and so Burnley now have two keepers who will demand first team football.
At 31, Heaton still has plenty to offer but could see himself slipping down the pecking order, leaving a move his obvious choice.
2 Alfie Mawson
Centre back also seems an area certain to see investment by the Hammers this summer. Not only has James Collins left the club, the Clarets had the joint-worst defensive record last season, conceding 68 league goals along with Stoke.
As one of Swansea’s only players to finish the season with his dignity intact, Mawson looks set to stay in the top-flight next term.
A fee of around £20m would be needed to prise him away from South Wales, however, a fee of £20m also looks a snip for the qualities he will bring. After Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire both proved shrewd signings from relegated Hull last summer, Mawson is set to be the equivalent this time around.
3 Ryan Fredericks
With Pablo Zabaleta turning 34 during next season the Hammers will surely look at bringing in another right back..
With Fulham set to contest the play-off final against Aston Villa this weekend, there’s a good chance they will want to convince Fredericks to join their own Premier League adventure.
The 25-year-old is also out of contract in the summer which makes his chances of switching clubs far more plausible.
With nine assists in the Championship last season, Fredericks will add to the Hammers attack as much as he will tighten them defensively.
As a player known to have been watched by David Moyes last season, it seems possible that West Ham have already lodged their interest in signing him.
4 Leander Dendoncker
Another reason West Ham struggled defensively can be placed on their midfield. With Pedro Obiang suffering injuries and Cheikhou Kouyaté proving wildly inconsistent, a new midfield anchor is needed alongside captain Mark Noble.
The Anderlecht lynch-pin would be something of a risk given the jump in quality he would need to take, however, at 23 years old he has plenty of time to adapt.
A player who is full of running, there is little fear Dendoncker could cope with the workload. He also has Champions League experience and can control a game’s tempo with his impressive range of passing.
How he manages to play with less time on the ball and space to work in are the big questions and at a reported £18m price tag, that represents a sizeable risk but potentially a bargain for this midfielder.
5 Davie Selke
With Javier Hernández and Andy Carroll both failing to stay fit for any significant time last season, bringing in only 11 league goals between them, a forward could be the final piece of Pellegrini’s jigsaw.
There are several names currently being linked with the Hammers, West Brom’s Salomón Rondón being a particular favourite in the media. One name not being mentioned could well prove Pellegrini’s best option though.
Selke is a 23-year-old forward who moved to Hertha Berlin last summer and despite only scoring ten league goals, is a player of much promise. Fitting the mould of a true number nine, he’s technically proficient, has a good turn of speed and could link up well with Marko Arnautovic who would compliment his style.
Who would you sign if you were Pellegrini? Let us know in the comments below.
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