Transfer Focus: Bilic targets pace as he reveals West Ham summer plans

Writing in his weekly London Evening Standard column, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has dropped the biggest hint yet over his summer transfer plans after revealing he will be targeting first team, whilst looking to add pace to his side.

What’s the word?

One major frustration for West Ham fans across their first season at the London Stadium has been their lack of top quality investment in the team after an atrocious summer window leading up to the move from Upton Park set the standards for a below par maiden year in Stratford.

After months of promising huge investment and a big name addition this time last year, the Hammers board failed to deliver and landed Bilic with a swelled squad of players not up to the challenge ahead.

With that in mind, the Croatian manager, who has expressed delight in top scorer Michail Antonio’s contract extension announced this week, seems hell bent on rectify the mistakes of last summer.

The former Hammers defender wrote in his column;

“Now we are 100 per cent sure of our destiny next season, we can step up our planning. We have been doing this as a club for many weeks already but now we are safe it has more intensity.

“The priority is not so much about improving the squad as signing the sort of players who would be expecting to play in our first team.

“Without giving anything away at this early stage, I will say we will want to bring in some players who have pace. But it is not all about pace: it is the balance which is all-important.”

Is it an empty promise?

Whilst Bilic makes his intentions of adding proven first team quality clear, it seems Hammers fans could be set for another summer of disappointment.

Southampton forward Shane Long and out-of-favour Chelsea man Michy Batshuayi have been mooted as potential additions in the coming months and, whilst the latter could turn out to be a masterstroke, the former certainly isn’t the inspirational signing fans in east London are pining for.

The Irish international does offer pace, in fact he has recorded the fastest sprint in the Premier League this season, however he brings little in terms of goals.

The 31-year-old enjoyed his best Premier League goal-scoring campaign with the Saints last season, notching ten, but has followed that up with a measly three in the top flight so far this term.