SIX marquee signings to get West Ham into the Europa League

Following two relatively stable Premier League finishes, Sam Allardyce has been charged with the challenge of propelling West Ham into the top half of the table next season.

That would certainly impress the disillusioned Upton Park punters, who have fallen out of love with Big Sam’s trademark brand of attritional football.

But why not take it one step further? Why not aim for European contention in the form of the Europa League – a competition that would truly affirm that the Hammers are back in the big-time.

Just to prove it can be done, we at Football Fancast have conjured up a list of SIX signings that could see the East London club qualify for Europe.

[ffc-gallery]CLICK ON YEVHEN KONOLPYANKA TO REVEAL ALL

Konoplyanka[/ffc-gallery]

MAROUANE FELLAINI

Following a catastrophic first season with Manchester United, summed up perfectly in the below vine…

…it’s unlikely £27million flop Marouane Fellaini will survive the change in regime at Old Trafford this summer.

But it wasn’t long ago the Belgian lankster was regarded as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders for his mixture of physical dominance and netting prowess.

Just in case you need reminding, here’s the highlights from his 11-goal-five-assist 2012/13 campaign at former club Everton…

And he netted this vital header for Belgium against Algeria last week:

Furthermore, measuring in at 6 foot 4 and renowned for his confrontation, physically assertive style, the Belgium international would be an ideal fit for the Hammers’ direct brand of football.

And the Express believe he could be available for around £15million this summer…

WILFRIED BONY

Wilfried Bony
If West Ham are to propel themselves into the European standings next season, signing a dependable goal scorer this summer is a must for Sam Allardyce.

Fitting the Hammers’ unique brand of attritional football perfectly is Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony.

Since joining the Welsh side from Vitesse last summer, where he had previously claimed 37 goals in his ultimate season, the 25 year-old has found 16 goals and four assists in 34 league outings. Here are some of the highlights from his inaugural Premier League campaign;

The Ivory Coast international also netted this ferocious header against Japan last Sunday…

…but struggled to have the same impact against Colombia…

The powerful 6 foot striker is rated at around £20million by the British tabloids, and an Upton Park switch has been mooted before.

But due to Bony’s sensational form last season, summer suitors are hardly in short supply…

MIRKO VUCINIC


Another ‘marquee’ forward option the East Londoners should be strongly considering is Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic.

Having made just four starts in Serie A, the 30 year-old is widely expected to leave the Old Lady this summer, and it’s believed he could be available for just £6.5million.

The Montenegro international isn’t the most dependable goal scorer, with returns of 21 goals in 72 Serie A outings for Juve and 46 in 147 at former club Roma.

But Vucinic better famed for his aesthetic style and long-range finishing, as demonstrated in the video below…

…and this pants-off celebration…

But there will be a wealth of competition for his signature this summer…

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Dortmund)
Rather surprisingly, despite netting 16 times in his debut season at Westfalen, including this stunning free-kick against Mainz…

…Borussia Dortmund are reportedly prepared to sell Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer.

Often dubbed “The African Neymar”, the 25 year-old boasts a mixture of pace, trickery and netting prowess, as shown in the video below…

Rumours of a £6million release clause only make Aubameyang a more relishing prospect from West Ham’s point of view.

But any interest from Upton Park could be eclipsed by the likes of Chelsea and Roma, whom along with Newcastle have both been linked to the former St. Etienne forward.

Yevhen Konolpyanka

Konoplyanka
Hot off the press this morning, the Hammers have been linked with an audacious bid for Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United target Yevhen Konolpyanka.

The three-time Ukrainian Player of the Year has been in sensational form for Dnipro this season, especially in the Europa League…

Konoplyanka stats

…and also netted this wonder strike against England at Wembley back in 2012:

The 24 year-old winger comes with a £12million release clause and would certainly rectify the blunted efforts of West Ham’s current widemen.

And although many of his summer suitors can offer European football, bringing Konoplyanka to East London would show huge ambition on Sam Allardyce’s part.

MATHEIU VALBUENA


Measuring in at just 5 foot 6…

France international Mathieu Valbuena isn’t what you’d describe as a natural fit to West Ham’s attritional style of football.

But the Marseille midfielder is a great technical talent, as shown in the video below…

And having publicly stated the desire for a new challenge, is widely expected to leave Stade Velodrome this summer…

He’s valued at around £10million by the tabloids, but a number of European clubs will be interested in the 29 year-old’s services.