Before January Gianfranco Zola had little options in his striking department. But after a frantic last day of the transfer window, which saw three forwards arrive at Upton Park, the Italian now has some tricky decisions to make in the coming months. Will it be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth?
With Carlton Cole now returned from injury and the skilful Guillermo Franco already at the club, the arrivals of Benni McCarthy, Araujo Ilan and Mido have really added some fierce competition up top in the Hammers’ squad.
But only two can play in reality, so who is Zola going to plump for?
It seems obvious that the sought after Cole will be the number one choice. He has been sorely missed in the past few months while he has recovered from a knee injury. His absence left the East London side severely light in the goals department and resulted in his manager recalling the on-loan Freddie Sears, despite not registering any goals while in The Championship with Crystal Palace.
With the England striker on the sidelines Franco has performed admirably, scoring three goals and showing signs of real creative ability. But with the new signings his place seems under threat. The West Ham boss may see him as more effective playing in a deeper role but can this be risked while they are in such a precarious position?
At Turf Moor at the weekend McCarthy was given the nod as Cole’s partner, but he seemed off the pace and missed a good chance during the Hammers’ defeat in Lancashire. The South African has not performed to his best ability in recent seasons but his power may be seen as important as the boys from East London scrap for points.
Zola brought his other two fresh faces off the bench and Mido, who is allegedly earning just £1,000-per-week at the Boleyn Ground, a pittance by Premier League standards, seemed quite lively. But it was the Brazilian, Ilan who got the goal that so nearly sparked a revival for a much-needed point. This will surely only help his cause to win the tussle for a start in their next league game against Birmingham. Not much is known about the South American forward in this country, unlike the other two new recruits, so it will be interesting to see Zola’s plans.
Time will provide the answers as to whether the triple signing proves a help or a hindrance in West Ham’s survival fight. Who do you think should be given the chance to fire The Iron to safety and do you think Zola will be able to keep his array of forwards happy?