West Ham’s chief focus has been made abundantly clear since the end of last season – they want a striker.
Not just any striker, but a marquee striker that will score 20 goals a season.
That’s all very admirable, but less so when you note how badly they are faring in bringing that type of player to the Olympic Stadium. After a series of ‘no’ responses, the Hammers board plough on relentlessly chasing rainbows when there are other considerations that need addressing.
Who knows, they may yet land an impressive striker or two, but the rumours persist, the endless messages from the board become repetitive and all in all it’s all getting more boring than exciting.
Whilst attention has been focused on the goals section of the team, Slaven Bilic has strengthened his midfield options with some decent acquisitions, but the one area that still gives some Hammers fans cause for concern is defence.
With centre-back James Tomkins having departed for Crystal Palace recently, the powers that be along the hallowed corridors of West Ham’s HQ have been very quiet on the back four front.
Sadly with Aaron Cresswell’s injury, cover at left-back, which West Ham have gambled on until now, is the priority. As is making sure that the defensive unit as a whole defends better than it did at times last term.
A strong partnership is developing between Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna, and Cresswell has the left back position to himself – or will when he returns.
Right-back is and has been an issue for a year, with Tomkins filling in, Sam Byram and Michail Antonio acting as cover when Joey O’Brien wasn’t fit, having lost Jenkinson.
In most fans’ minds, the concentration has been on the forwards when the defence needs depth as well.
West Ham shipped two goals against Everton, Chelsea and Leicester, three against Arsenal at home, four against Swansea at home and a further two against Crystal Palace and Manchester United, also at home. Then there was Norwich and Stoke away.
18 goals against us in the last 10 games, not including the FA Cup replay with Manchester United. 51 throughout the season, although West Ham’s goal difference was a plus for the first time in years.
Maybe with the situation now an issue due to Cresswell’s injury Bilic will take another look defensively. Reece Burke will probably go out on loan again and every West Ham fan sincerely hopes that Bilic is not serious about converting the brilliant attack minded Antonio to right-back. As efficient as he was, it is clear that he is not a defender. To have him permanently in that role would be a genuine waste with the player ultimately departing at some point due to being played out of position.
The Hammers need to strengthen and with solid, proven defenders to see them through all of the competitions that they will have to navigate this coming season.
West Ham were unlucky last year with injuries. James Collins came in and did well when he had to cover, but there was a constant shuffle of the back four and they never played, therefore, with any consistency.
Bilic said after the Crystal Palace draw that his side cannot keep having to score three goals to win games, and he has a point, because so often last season the Hammers had to be on top form in front of goal just to get a point.
It’s great to score goals, but there is a thought that you need to stop them going in as well.