It is anything but an exaggeration to state that West Ham United have experienced a bumpy ride in recent seasons, one that has brought its fair share of disharmony, even crisis and worse still a disconnect between fans and club. At times it felt like a soap opera where everybody was shouting at one another with no-one listening.
Much of this of course was initiated by their stadium move, a divisive relocation from start to finish, and with the latter days of Slaven Bilic and all of the days of David Moyes factored in too this persistent doom and gloom inevitably resulted in mediocrity on the pitch and stolid mid-table placings. Pessimism was rife.
Thankfully that is far from the case now and the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini played a large part in calming the troubled waters, with the Chilean ‘Engineer’ engineering fare that was pleasant on the eye knocked about by a team studded with fan favourites and cult figures. Prior to their trip to Old Trafford this weekend, the Hammers lie in 11th – the same spot they ended up in 2016/17 – but that only illustrates how little the league can sometime reflect a mood.
Things are a lot happier in east London now. The football is good and hope has returned. Things are getting back on track. Now if they can just sign a goal-scoring centre-forward they might do something quite special.
In truth they have been desperately requiring a lethal and reliable hit-man for quite some period and Hammers supporters are getting roundly sick of reading rumours every transfer window linking them to the latest goal-getter supposedly available on the continent. Time after time it comes to nothing.
Only Marko Arnautovic has managed to reach double figures in the Premier League in recent seasons – bagging 11 last term – and the last to do so before the enigmatic Austrian was Kevin Nolan who enjoyed a prolific campaign from midfield in 2013.
This time out the irregular glory has been shared around with Arnautovic, Anderson and Hernandez chipping in but of these only the latter could be viewed as an out-and-out poacher and he has scored the least of the trio by virtue of not being a consistent starter.
It is when the clubs around West Ham are assessed that their deficiency really stands out. Leicester have Jamie Vardy. Wolves have Raul Jimenez. West Ham have nobody in such a mould; only wide-men stationed centrally.
Naturally this has had a detrimental impact and it is telling that only two sides deemed safe from the drop have scored fewer goals this season.
Predictably the rumours continue unabated with Edin Dzeko the latest name mentioned in dispatches regarding a possible summer move. In many ways the Bosnian makes sense, with his career-long pedigree in finding the net and past association with Pellegrini. On the down side he is 33 and on the decline.
Elsewhere the Daily Telegraph claim that West Ham also have interest in Aleksandar Mitrovic, Christian Kouame and Maxi Gomez.
Whoever it turns out to be though West ham need a striker this summer. A selfish, single-minded finisher who can turn hope into goals. They’ve waited long enough.