Is this why West Ham really need to sign a striker?

For many West Ham fans it is the same old story every summer, the bulk of the transfer business is done quite early in the window and the final key signing is a long drawn out affair with the final signing always being a striker.

Signing a good front man is always difficult and in recent years the Hammers have signed some decent ones in the shape of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll, those along with Mauro Zarate, Modibo Maiga and youngster Elliot Lee may seem like enough for what is set to be a long season for Slaven Bilic’s side.

But the general feeling in east London, due to the extended long term injury problems of Andy Carroll, is that an injury to one of Sakho or Valencia will leave the Hammers very short up front in terms of real Premier League quality, as Zarate, Maiga and Lee aren’t quite to that standard.

New boss Slaven Bilic will play a 4-2-3-1 system, a formation he utilised for the majority of his time at Besitkas to great success, so the need for two strikers in the same system is not really required, which will affect the type of signing the Hammers may need to make in this department.

With rumours of Andy Carroll being out until October, the east Londoners’ need for another striker has increased somewhat, especially as Bilic’s squad could well be stretched to the limits if the Hammers fare well in the Europa League.

Relying on Sakho and Valencia as the two main strikers would be a huge risk for the Hammers as an over reliance on Carroll in the 2013/14 season came back to haunt them. The Irons had no real alternative and suffered as a result.

The former Croatia national team manager will be all too aware of a situation like that occurring again and will be doing all he can to ensure that his new side aren’t short in the striking department when they get their Premier League campaign under way at Arsenal.

Signing another good forward along with the ones West Ham have already got will take the pressure off Carroll to get back fit and firing. When the big striker does eventually return to full fitness West Ham could have four quality forwards in their ranks, which is what will be needed if they are to compete in the Europa League and the Premier League without one or the other suffering.

The Hammers have already been heavily linked with moves for Chelsea striker Loic Remy and QPR striker Charlie Austin this summer and either one of those two would be perfect additions to Bilic’s squad.

Remy, of course, is a pacey striker capable of getting in behind defences, whereas Austin is far more of a poacher who relies on subtle movement and quality finishing. Both would provide direct competition to the first team and could be the sort of goal scorers the Hammers should sign.

But a deal that could even be better than the west London pair is one for Man United striker Javier Hernandez, who could be available providing the Red Devils can add another striker to their squad before the end of the window. The Mexican would be another top signing and would certainly provide some serious competition for Sakho and co.

The need for strength in depth is paramount when a club is tasked with juggling Europa League and Premier League football. Although the likes of Sakho and Valencia are capable of getting the goals West Ham will undoubtedly need to progress this term, an injury to either one of them could very quickly upset the Hammers’ dreams of a top ten finish and a fairytale farewell to the Boleyn Ground.