After finishing 7th in Premier League following final day defeat to Stoke, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham side narrowly missed out on automatic qualification for European football next season.
Alas, all is not lost in the Hammers’ pursuit of the Europa League, however, as if Manchester United are to win the FA Cup Final this weekend, the Irons could be granted a position in the third qualifying round of the tournament, due to the fact Man United have already qualified via their fifth place league finish.
Louis van Gaal’s side’s triumph would be the icing on the cake on what has been fantastic season in east London, with the Hammers matching their second best ever Premier League finish only four campaigns after earning promotion back to the Premier League via the Championship Play-Offs.
The promise of European football, as well as brand new stadium, is set to attract a host of Europe’s top names to the Olympic Stadium this coming summer.
If West Ham want to kick on and reignite their challenge for a top four finish in 2016/17, Slaven Bilic will certainly want to strengthen.
Here are FIVE transfer targets West Ham should not miss out on this summer…
Having a had a £31m move for fellow Ligue 1 striker Alexandre Lacazette rejected, the Hammers should turn their attention to the equally talented Belgian forward, Batshuayi. One of the hottest young strikers in world football, the 22 year old would be a fine addition and certainly help to bolster West Ham’s front line, having scored 22 times this season for current club Marseille.
Out of favour now with England as well as Arsenal, Walcott will almost certainly be looking to move elsewhere this summer as he hopes first-team football will rejuvenate his chances of an England recall. A move across London could be the perfect solution as the Hammers look to add depth to their wide positions.
One area that West Ham undoubtedly need to strengthen this summer is at the back, especially in the middle. While Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna have been solid, the Hammers lack a legitimate world class centre half to control their defence. Known as ‘The Wall’ in Torino, Serbia’s Nikola Maksimovic has been repeatedly compared with fellow compatriot, Nemanja Vidic.
Bony has struggled at Manchester City since his move from Swansea last summer. The Premier League’s top scorer for the 2014 calendar year at his former club, the Ivorian is not used to being second in the pecking order, and it shows in his lack of confidence. Big, strong and an excellent finisher, Bony has the ability to lead the line for West Ham.
Now I know Oxford is already at the club, but having reportedly rejected a new contract yesterday, West Ham should make it a priority to keep the young defender at the Olympic Stadium next season. The Hammers’ youth system has a track record of producing quality players, including Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, so the Irons should do all they can to hang on to a player who could be the next big thing.