With their long-awaited move to the Olympic Stadium now just a year away, it’s time for West Ham to think big.
The appointment of Slaven Bilic, an internationally proven manager with experience in the Europa League, is the first logical step in that process. Now all he needs is a squad worthy of representing what will be the third-largest capacity ground in the Premier League.
That’s no disrespect to the current Hammers crop. Last summer’s signings under Sam Allardyce have certainly moved the club in the right direction, despite their somewhat disappointing end to the season.
But what the East London outfit lack is star-studded quality; the kind of players with the ability and experience to take them to the next level.
And with that in mind, we at Football Fancast have created this list of FIVE ‘transfer coups’ West Ham should aim for this summer – players seemingly beyond their means for financial or footballing reasons, who might be more interested than you’d expect in signing for the Hammers…
West Ham have already been linked with PSG midfielder Yohan Cabaye and indeed, he represents the barometer of quality the rest of this list intends to match.
No doubt, the France international is a fantastic footballer; a playmaker equally adept at No.10 or deeper, who offers a cultured passing game, goal threat from long-range, tenacity off the ball and lethality from set piece situations.
The 29 year-old hasn’t hit the heights expected since leaving Newcastle for PSG in January 2014 despite contributing to two consecutive Ligue 1 titles, managing just 35 league outings in 18 months, and is widely expected to leave the French capital this summer.
Cabaye’s pedigree in the Premier League, however, remains indisputable. He notched up 17 goals and 15 assists in 79 league appearances for the Magpies, spending his last six months on Tyneside as their goalscoring talisman.
The Daily Mail claim PSG are prepared to sell for around £10million – which seems like fantastic value for money.
The Hammers were linked to Cameroon centre-back Nicolas N’Koulou earlier this season and with his Marseille contract now into its final year, this summer is definitely the right time to buy.
The 25 year-old has been knocking on the door of the European elite for some time and has just come to the end of yet another strong season at Stade Velodrome, averaging 2.1 tackles, 3.3 interceptions, 6.6 clearances and 3.4 successful aerial duels per match.
Experienced on the international scene with 51 caps under his belt, the 5 foot 11 defender – who can also operate in midfield when required – would instantly improve the quality of West Ham’s current options at centre-half.
He’s the kind of signing who could take the East Londoners to the next level. But amid rumours of a summer move to Arsenal, Marseille president Vincente Labrune has insisted N’Koulou isn’t for sale.
Despite his agent claiming a ‘100%’ commitment to leaving Barcelona this summer and subsequent links to Arsenal and Liverpool, there’s been surprisingly little movement on the Martin Montoya front over the last few months.
With Arsenal already well-endowed at right-back and Liverpool on the verge of signing Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne, a flash of optimistic opportunism could see West Ham bag the 24 year-old as a replacement for allegedly Sunderland-bound Carl Jenkinson.
Montoya’s an athletic and sturdy defender, but he’s also blessed with all the technical quality you’d expect of a La Masia product and two-time U21 European Championship winner – typified best by his sensational strike against Malaga during the 2012/13 campaign.
Admittedly, the Spaniard does have some slightly more glamorous options than Upton Park, such as Inter Milan. But the Premier League is a lure within itself and at the very least, West Ham can guarantee the £7million-rated full-back the regular first team football he desperately craves. Maybe Alex Song can have a word.
Javier Hernandez may have endured two seasons of limited opportunities and turbulent form in front of goal, but let’s not forget how talented a poacher the Manchester United outcast truly is.
Despite predominantly featuring from the bench, the 27 year-old boasts an impressive return of 59 goals in 154 appearances for the Red Devils, playing an important role in them claiming two league titles during his five-year spell at Old Trafford, and reached double figures in three consecutive Premier League campaigns.
Furthermore, he offers an interesting variation from the Hammers’ current forward options, who are all predominantly of the classic No.9 mould, through his defence-splitting pace, diminutive frame and fox-in-the-box instincts. If the East Londoners create enough chances, he’s certain to score regularly.
With just a year remaining on his contract, Louis van Gaal has made no secret of his intentions to sell the Mexico international this summer.
That suggests Chicarito will be allowed to leave on the cheap. Currently, however, he’s being linked with a shock move to Atletico Madrid.
Schalke star Jefferson Farfan may not offer West Ham much longevity at the age of 30, but he’s a well-proven and potent wideman who would add experience and quality to their starting XI.
Indeed, Farfan boasts a career return of 153 goals in 490 appearances throughout his spells with Alianza Lima, PSV Eindhoven and the Miners, reaching the 20-goal mark in two consecutive Eredivisie campaigns. His return of 17 goals in 63 outings for an unexceptional Peru side is nothing to be sniffed at either.
Injuries have plagued him over the last few seasons but if the south American winger, currently on show at the Copa America, can rekindle his netting prowess at Upton Park, he’ll be a fantastic acquisition.
Furthermore, Farfan is reportedly keen to find a new challenge ahead of next season and with his Miners contract set to expire in 2016, the Bundesliga outfit could be forced to sell on the cheap.
Currently, however, the tabloids claim he’s being targeted by Liverpool gaffer Brendan Rodgers.