There’s no doubting that some serious talent made its way to the London Stadium this summer. The arrival of Champions League winner Kurt Zouma has already improved the heart of the defence which was looking very shaky at the start of the season.
Keeping hold of midfield talisman Declan Rice is maybe the most underrated piece of business this past window as he was believed to be Chelsea-bound for much of this year, but you still can’t shake the feeling that West Ham have missed out.
Let’s not completely breakdown. David Moyes’ men are performing well so far with 11 points from their first 7 games. There is still a lot of the season remaining and free bets exclusive to our friends at OLBG.com mean you can up the ante whilst watching the Claret and Blue.
A poor defensive performance saw them drop two points at home to Crystal Palace but the arrival of Zouma seems to have steadied that rocky defence. The French international made his full debut in the Hammers’ 2-1 away defeat to Manchester United after Mark Noble’s agonising injury time penalty miss.
He was a real presence at the back, winning the most aerial duels on the pitch and completing 12 clearances. After arriving from Chelsea this Summer, his performances so far are making his £30m transfer fee look a very shrewd piece of business.
Elsewhere on the pitch, the Irons went back to the Czech Republic to bolster their midfield with the signing of Alex Kral on loan from Russian outfit Spartak Moskva and Croatian Nikola Vlasic from rivals CSKA Moskva. Vlasic is yet to make much of an impression in his one start so far this season and Kral is yet to make his league debut. They also signed goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on loan from Paris Saint Germain.
Worryingly, that is where business ends in terms of incomings and fans can be forgiven for the alarm bells ringing in their heads. Squad depth will be a serious issue this season and four signings is simply not good enough. The lack of striking options is sure to be the first red flag and with a Europa League campaign added to this year’s fixture list Michail Antonio, the only senior striker in the squad, may struggle with the workload.
That is no hit on his ability though. The English-born striker may be one of the most underrated strikers in the league. He is the club’s record premier league goal scorer and his form during the 20/21 season was integral to that unprecedented 6th place finish.
However, at 31 years old and with a long list of injuries on his CV, a potential 60+ game season is simply asking too much of the star-man and rotation is imperative. It is frustrating then, that the Hammers missed out on England international and Zouma’s former Champions League winning teammate Tammy Abraham, who instead moved to Jose Mourinho’s Roma. And it doesn’t end there.
Needless to say, they need to work on this in the January window. Assuming the board are still not keen on spending, it is possible to do this on a budget. Clermont striker Mohamed Bayo helped his side to promotion to Ligue 1 last term, netting 22 goals. The Guinean international has also made a fantastic start to his 21/22 campaign with 4 goals and 2 assists in 6 starts.
It is believed he would be available for around £10m and Moyes himself is believed to be keen on him. However, if he is to link up with the Guinean national team he would also have an extended time away from the club with the African Cup of Nations taking place between January and February.
Moyes could still look closer to home when boosting his front line, however. Alexandre Lacazette’s Arsenal contract is up in the Summer and there is no new deal in sight.
Whilst only a year younger than Antonio, the Frenchman could be available to pick up for a cut-price fee in January and he would be a great short-term solution for Moyes, at least until the club are willing to spend.
It is still an extremely exciting time to be a Hammer. Off the back of their highest finish in premier league history, the club automatically qualified for European competition for the first time in their history. Moyes has got his squad playing and for the first time in a while, there is a real buzz around West Ham United.