Following a season of continuous unrest at Upton Park, manager Sam Allardyce has been charged with the task of making his West Ham side more exciting via the summer transfer market, with a reported budget of £20million.
Indeed, averaging just 1.3 goals per match at home, which works out at a rather shocking £25 per goal for the Boleyn season-ticket holders, the Hammers fans have shown no refrain in their efforts to voice discontent over Allardyce’s increasingly one-dimensional attritional philosophy.
Admittedly, £20m is little more than loose change in the modern Premier League era and hardly the size of budget one would expect to provide major philosophical change.
But if anyone can pull it off, it’s Big Sam, one of the Premier League’s most renowned transfer market operators. And just in case he’s short on a few ideas, here’s a list of FIVE exciting signings the Hammers boss could make for a combined £20million this summer.
Charlton Athletic’s technically gifted youngster Diego Poyet would not only provide a much-welcomed deviation from West Ham’s style, but is also available for remarkably cheap this summer.
The son of Gus has just come to the end of an impressive breakthrough campaign at the Valley, picking up the Young Player of the Year award despite only making his Championship debut in February.
Indeed, the 19 year-old is still raw and unlikely to command an instant place in the Hammers first team, but his elegance in possession and natural reading of the game gives the anchoring playmaker the aura of a future star.
Averages of 4.3 tackles, 2.5 interceptions and 49 passes per match – the most of any player on the Addicks roster – suggest great promise too.
Furthermore, the Pirlo-esque midfielder is yet to renew his expiring contract in South East London, meaning the Irons can snap him up in a compensation deal this summer worth around £500k.
After being sent home to France for ‘the good of the club’ back in April following a spat with Alan Pardew, it appears Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa will be looking for a new club this summer.
The mercurial Frenchman’s inconsistencies can often divide opinion, and Sam Allardyce certainly won’t look upon his limited defensive work-rate favourably.
But boasting a return of 13 goals and 15 assists in 76 Premier League appearances, there’s no doubt the 27 year-old is one of the English top flight’s most impressive widemen when in full swing.
Furthermore, Ben Arfa’s ability to effectively take on defenders and produce mazy runs on the break will excite the increasingly-subdued Upton Park faithful.
It’s believed the France international could be available for as little as £5million this summer with his contract set to expire in summer 2015. But recent speculation suggests a pay-out move to the Middle East could be on the cards.
Another exciting wideman acquisition that Sam Allardyce should strongly consider is Blackpool forward Tom Ince, set to leave Bloomfield Road on a bosman move this summer.
The 22 year-old struggled for game time on loan to Crystal Palace in the second half of the season but comes with a prolific reputation from his last 18 months in the Championship, claiming 25 goals in 67 league outings.
The son of Paul is no stranger to the assists charts either, whilst impressive averages of 2.7 shots, 2.2 key passes, 2.2 crosses and 1.5 successful dribbles per match this term suggest he’s more than ready for Premier League football.
Ince’s home-grown status and inspiring attacking game certainly fits with West Ham’s more traditional club ethos.
Having recently rejected a move to Inter Milan, an Upton Park switch could be more appealing to the England U21. But French big-spenders Monaco also are known to be long-term admirers.
Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic has more commonly been linked with European outfits, but often compared to the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Dimitar Berbatov and reportedly available for just £6.5million this summer, he would be an ideal acquisition to bring West Ham’s ’19th Century Football’ up to date.
The 30 year-old isn’t the most dependable goalscorer, with a returns of 21 goals in 72 Serie A outings for the Old Lady and 46 in 147 at former club Roma.
But the Montenegro icon is better famed for his aesthetic style, natural creativity and immense technical quality, which would certainly make the Hammers more fluid going forward. His renowned knack for netting beautiful long-range strikes should win over more disillusioned segments of the Boleyn fan base too.
That £6.5million valuation certainly strikes value for money – but any interest from West Ham could be eclipsed by reported admirers Arsenal and Tottenham.
Providing a refreshing change from the goal-shy styles of Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole is Hamburg loanee Pierre-Michel Lasogga – statistically the Bundesliga’s most potent striker this season.
The 22 year-old netted 13 times in just 18 league starts this term, and many were surprised at his exclusion from Germany’s World Cup squad.
Despite his stunning season however, a return to parent club Hertha Berlin appears unlikely, with Lasogga’s contract set to expire in summer 2015 and the former Mannshaft U21 continually stating a desire to play in the Premier League.
Measuring in at 6 foot 3 and averaging 5.7 successful aerial duels per match this term, the son of former Schalke and Werder Bremen goalkeeper Oliver Reck would fit in well with the Hammers’ direct brand of football.
It’s believed an £8million fee could be enough to prize Lasogga away from the German capital, but recent speculation suggests Newcastle are currently leading the race for his signature.