Indifferent start for West Ham & new signings can take them to next level
West Ham United flew out of the blocks against Arsenal and many were positive after a 2-0 win at the Emirates, gushing about 16-year-old debutant Reece Oxford.
However, Slaven Bilic’s side, have since lost twice. It’s not all bad news, however, there are issues that need to be addressed before the transfer window closes. Currently 7/2 with Coral to finish in the top 10 this season, they have been hamstrung by the injuries to strike duo Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia, though there is also a soft underbelly in central midfield and the heart of defence.
A manager who prided himself on applying a physical game while in charge of the Croatian national team and this is a character trait he will be looking to utilise with the Hammers.
One of the biggest question marks is whether Barcelona’s Alex Song is going to return to the club, having spent last season on loan at Upton Park. There is no doubt that he would make a difference in a midfield that includes the dynamic Cheikhou Kouyate plus the experience of Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble.
Having brought in Angelo Ogbonna at centre half, the Italian was outstanding in Gunners game with last ditch tackles as he anticipated the pattern of play, while snapping up Dimitri Payet from Marseille was an inspired piece of business.
The Frenchman got the most assists across Europe’s top five leagues last season and his impact has been instantaneous. Payet set up the Hammers’ first goal against Arsenal, then followed up with a strike himself in the defeat against Leicester City.
Reports suggest that bids are being lined up for two strikers. Burak Yilmaz has been identified as a credible target and Bilic is aware of his talents, having managed in Turkey. Talented Juventus star Simone Zaza is another who is being considered and an initial £1.7m loan fee is being discussed with an option in place to sign him for £11.5m.
Whether Song follows remains to be seen, though the Hammers showed in the first game of the Premier League season that they can compete with the best.