West Ham have had the most remarkable of seasons when you consider the concern from some quarters about removing Sam Allardyce from his post.
Slaven Bilic, aided by strong summer investment, has guided the Irons into top four contention and seen the flourishing of Dimitri Payet as one of the most exciting players in Europe. With his trusty comrades, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio, Payet has been the talismanic figure that the Hammers have craved and he has helped the London club return to something resembling the ‘West Ham way’.
The move to the Olympic Stadium this summer will help raise the calibre of the club yet further and it will certainly help when it comes to recruitment. Several players are likely to leave in this window, with Carl Jenkinson and Victor Moses seeing their loans come to an end and others linked with transfers where they can guarantee more first team football.
David Gold and David Sullivan are likely to allow Bilic to invest once more and we bring you FIVE relegation threatened stars who they might be eyeing up already…
Sissoko has developed a reputation as a rather flaky player, but, when he fancies it, he can be one of the most destructive midfield forces in the league.
The Frenchman has epitomised Newcastle’s campaign, with the sort of inconsistency and occasional lack of effort that has left his side in a true relegation scrap.
Capable on the wing or in a box-to-box midfield role, Sissoko would be a great addition for when the Hammers want to close up the midfield. With Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate already playing a similar role, Sissoko would add depth for the Europa League matches the Irons are likely to face next season.
Norwich’s top scorer looks almost certain to be relegated this season, unfortunately.
Redmond has begun to mature significantly over the past couple of seasons and the winger can play in a number of positions. His flying pace and quick feet make him a great option for many sides and he must be aware that he has to be playing Premier League football next season if he wants his career to develop.
As one of the few positives in a poor Norwich side, Redmond’s five goals have at least provided a feeling of hope at Carrow Road and the youngster, having just turned 22, has his best years ahead of him.
Largely under-used at Aston Villa, Gil is one of the most talented figures in the Villans’ squad.
His exceptional pass completion record of nearly 88% is the norm for a Spanish midfielder and this playmaker would take some of the creative burden off of Payet.
Gil can play on either wing, but usually looks most comfortable in a ‘No.10’ role. His initial impact at Villa showed just how good he can be, yet Tim Sherwood overlooked the midfielder for long periods and he is a somewhat forgotten man under Remi Garde.
It’s easy to forget that a side struggling as much as Villa can still have plenty of quality.
In Newcastle’s colander-like defence, Mbemba’s quality is often overlooked. The summer signing produced a wonderful performance when Liverpool visited St James’ Park and it is easy to think of players from more solid backlines when looking to sign a new centre-half.
Although the Magpies have leaked goals on a regular basis, Mbemba has shown he does have the potential to be a top quality Premier League defender.
Averaging six clearances per league appearances, Mbemba could be a long-term replacement for James Collins, who has made the fourth most clearances of any Premier League player.
Kirchhoff only arrived at Sunderland in January, but the ex-Bayern Munich man would surely not be willing to drop down to the Championship.
Despite never making a name for himself at the German giants, Kirchhoff has already been a decent addition for the Black Cats and is a greatly versatile player. As he has done of late, Kirchhoff can play as a defensive midfielder, where he is a reliable screen for the back four, or he can drop in and play as cover at centre-half.
Currently playing in a far less talented midfield, Kirchhoff could excel in West Ham’s engine room and would work well as the deepest man to cover for the attacking instincts of Kouyate and others.