European football, a new stadium and money to spend on new signings – what’s not to love if you’re a West Ham fan?
The wonderful deal the Irons managed to negotiate for the use of the Olympic Stadium has meant that not only will the club get to play European and Premier League football in one of Europe’s most iconic stadiums, but they’ll also benefit financially from the deal, too.
Whatever you think about the deal from a taxpayer’s’ point of view, the fault doesn’t lie at West Ham’s door – they simply negotiated the best deal for their club, and they’ll reap the benefits. The future’s bright.
Last season it genuinely looked like West Ham would challenge for a Champions League place before falling off and only just making the Europa League thanks to a Manchester United FA Cup win. But it is clear that Slaven Bilic is building a team that can compete in the Premier League, even if the Champions League looks nigh-on impossible if the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton are resurgent beneath them.
That means ideas of what success looks like for the Irons will need to be tempered somewhat. Whereas last season, some predicted relegation, this season many will go the other way and predict what will probably be too much.
What they need to do is continue to progress – obviously – but with all the traditionally big clubs spending money like a bored WAG, it’s likely that at least one of these teams will have teething problems, and West Ham will kick themselves if they’re not there to capitalise.
A top class striker to finish what the Hammers’ stellar attacking midfielders start could see them mount a threat to the Champions League places.
The start of the summer was a big win for West Ham. With their coach plastered all over the Euro 2016 coverage and showing himself off at his charismatic best, there was always the possibility that big name players would have been attracted by such a manager, especially with the club in such an exciting place.
Since then, the summer has stalled a bit. Pre-season has seen some terrible results – though the results of pre season friendlies are probably the most irrelevant part of football – there are injury worries over key players like Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini, and strikers are turning down the Hammers in their droves.
Though, the last bit might have something to do with the innovative policy of getting the chairman’s son to conduct the club’s transfer dealings on Twitter.
None other than Dimitri Payet, again. Last season, Payet proved his worth not just to West Ham, not just to the Premier League, but to French football too. Often seen in France as a waster, a man with bags of talent but a terrible attitude, Payet knuckled down last season and produced the form needed to fire his club to Europe and fire his country to a European Championships final.
This season, he’ll have the likes of Sofiane Feghouli to help him out in the creativity department, and if there’s a striker to bag the goals, this could be an even ore productive season for Payet.
Given the problems West Ham have had in signing a striker this summer, there’s a real chance that they’ll end the window disappointed. Even if they do manage to get someone in, it seems that any striker they do sign won’t be of the quality that we thought they could attract at the start of the window. All the talk of Alexandre Lacazette, Michy Batshuayi and Carlos Bacca was unfounded in the end, and West Ham will maybe have to settle.
If that’s the case then it might just be that a striker already at the club, someone like Enner Valencia could step up and show that he’s actually a good player! Valencia played well for Ecuador in this summer’s Copa America, and if he hits a good run of form, he could be the stopgap striker that West Ham need to finish off the moves their star names will create.