How West Ham United could line up next season under Bilic
Former Besiktas and Croatia boss Slaven Bilic was appointed as new West Ham United manager this summer and the East London club have wasted no time in the transfer market, making several new signings for next season.
Last term, under the guidance of Sam Allardyce, the Hammers ended in 12th position, but Bilic will look to go one better in his maiden campaign and is 7/4 with Coral to lead his new team to a top 10 finish.
Here is how the Hammers could line up next season after possible new arrivals and their recent acquisitions.
Despite the signing of Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph, Spanish stopper Adrian should take up his place between the Hammers sticks next season. The newly recruited Irishman could be used more in cup competition, with Adrian the number one man at Upton Park.
Right back: Carl Jenkinson
The talented Arsenal full back enjoyed a successful season-long loan spell under Allardyce and looks set for another under Bilic next term. With the Gunners already boasting plenty of astute right backs, Jenkinson is likely to seek another stint at West Ham.
Centre back: Winston Reid
Despite his future having come under severe speculation during last season, Reid has become a key defensive figure with his current employers and will surely continue that role under Bilic.
Centre back: Angelo Ogbonna
With talks reportedly ongoing, Juventus centre back Ogbonna would provide West Ham with a new vital rock at the back. The Italy international struggled to cement a place with the Turin titans due to the depth of quality in the Serie A champions’ squad, but can prove his worth in East London.
However, his potential arrive will signal a massive transfer coup for Bilic, and shore-up the rearguard at Upton Park for his debut season (20/1 for top six finish).
Left back: Aaron Cresswell
Voted as the club’s player of the year for last season’s outstanding performances at left back, Cresswell is one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Defensive midfield: Mark Noble
A true Hammer at heart. Long-serving midfielder Noble will surely take up his place in the centre of West Ham’s line-up, pivoting play as an acnhorman.
Centre midfield: Cheikhou Kouyate
West Ham’s midfield may have a whole new-look to it next season, with the recent signings all set to take up their place in the heart of the team.
However, Kouyate will be a regular feature, having arrived from Anderlecht last summer and will undoubtedly prove to be a driving force again next term with his towering presence and physical dominance.
Centre midfield: Pedro Obiang
Former Spain Under-21 international Obiang could accompany Kouyate in the centre, as part of a possible diamond formation, and would be a suitable partner in a potentially astute midfield.
Attacking midfield: Dimitir Payet
Leading the midfield diamond, in the number 10 role, recent arrival Payet will provide Bilic with a genuinely brilliant creative spark.
The France international attacker was second only to Lionel Messi last season in terms of the amount of successful through-balls played in Europe’s top five divisions, and made more assists than anyone in Ligue 1, proving his class as a playmaker.
Striker: Diafro Sakho
As part of a front two, towering frontman Sakho could accompany Valencia in attack, after impressively dispatching 12 goals in all competitions last campaign.
The Senegal striker recently starred in the club’s Europa League qualifying clash with Andorran team Luistanos, netting a brace in an eventual 3-0 triumph and looks set to continue as Bilic’s key dangerman next term.
Striker: Enner Valencia
After enjoying a relatively successful first term, following his superb showings at last summer’s World Cup, Ecuador international forward Valencia could again partner Sakho in the hammers frontline.
The 25-year-old also represented his country recently at the Copa America and will be confident of making more of an impact under Bilic, following up his seven strikes last season.