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Can West Ham be this season’s Southampton?

Every season in the Premier League there is that one team that throws a spanner in the works and threatens to break into the top six at the expense of one of the big teams.

Last season it was Southampton, who despite losing a number of their best players to Liverpool last summer had a remarkable season sitting in a Champions League place for most of the year, before eventually falling in the final straight.

This season’s ‘overachievers’ will be West Ham United.

A new era is beginning at the club, after they departed with previous manager Sam Allardyce, at the end of last season and waved goodbye to those horrible long ball tactics.

In has stepped former Croatia manager Slaven Bilic, who has taken charge on a three year deal.

Bilic had a spell at the club back in 1996 and the central defender was a popular figure around the club, his return has been welcomed by everyone associated with West Ham

His appointment is a massive boost with the fans looking forward to a change of style and new ideas compared to the previous era, Bilic played attractive possession football with Besiktas and Croatia and is likely to do the same with his new side.

West Ham have been languishing in mid-table mediocrity in recent seasons and can now kick on and challenge for a much higher league position. This season is massive for the club, next year the Hammers will be moving ground to the Olympic Stadium and will be looking to go out with a bang at the Boleyn, heading into pastures new with confidence sky high.

They also have to deal with the distraction of Europa League football. So many teams have tried to balance between that and the Premier League but ultimately struggle, however the new boss is very confident his players can handle the difficulties the competition brings.

The former defender has wasted no time in trying to get his side into shape, bringing in a number of key signings to add that extra quality to the team.

Their is no doubt that Dimitri Payet is a major coup for the club. He is a clever attacking player with bags of speed and a keen eye for the target, and he arrives on the back of a good season at Marseille.

Payet led the assists chart in France, creating 17 goals for his team mates and also finished the season as the most creative player in Europe with 135 chances. Interestingly that is over 20 more than Lionel Messi and Kevin De Bruyne. Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia will be licking their lips at the prospect of this service.

The defence has been strengthened considerably too. Carl Jenkinson has rejoined on loan from Arsenal and they have also brought in powerful defender Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus.

Last season this was a week area for the club and being a former defender himself, the Croatian will be keen to focus on making it a lot more solid.

Jenkinson and team mate Aaron Cresswell are particularly likely to thrive under Bilic’s tactics. The manager loves attacking full backs and both players are likely to have big seasons for West Ham.

The board are clearly willing to back Bilic in the transfer market and the players linked being linked with moves are a real sign of intent. Javier Hernandez, Gervinho and Alex Song have all being linked to moves to the team in recent days and would really give a quality boost to what already looks a decent team.

It will be a long season for the Hammers, but under their new manager morale is rapidly rising and it won’t be long before West Ham are cutting it with some of the league’s best teams.

Article title: Can West Ham be this season’s Southampton?

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