Filed: Wednesday, 26th June 2013
No matter how successful a season is, you are always looking to improve in the summer months. This is the case for West Ham United as they aim to build on their top ten finish and something we have discussed at lengths with fellow tipsters on footballtips.com.
First of all, it is worth mentioning that if the Hammers were offered 10th again – they would take it. If the 2013/2014 season follows the same pattern, there will not be too many complaints. West Ham cannot stand still and expect to have the same success though. Teams around them will be improving and they need too as well.
So, which weaknesses need addressing ahead of the new Premier League season?
Well, one of them already has been. The face that Andy Carroll was only a loan signing last season was a problem. Who was Sam Allardyce going to get to replace the England international in the summer? Luckily, he has got the man himself. Carroll has agreed to sign permanently for West Ham and this is fantastic news. He can become a Hammers legend and help the club push on – no doubt about that.
What could be key though is finding an alternative to Carroll. Not only is he injury prone – something that will hopefully improve – but you can’t always rely on his battering ram approach getting results. So, another striker is needed. Carlton Cole has been released and this makes room for a new recruit. Somebody proven at Premier League level would be ideal, making Darren Bent a possible candidate.
The striker’s time is definitely up at Aston Villa and there is no doubt, given a run of games, he can make a handy contribution. This is as a partner to Carroll or as an alternative. Demba Ba has also been mentioned and this would be a similar capture to Bent, while Matej Vydra – who scored plenty while on-loan at Watford last season – is a more youthful alternative.
Elsewhere, Kevin Nolan needs a hand with scoring goals from midfield. He managed ten last season – a superb return once again – but when he has a dry spell in front of goal, the team suffers. He finished with a hat-trick against Reading of course. If he can continue this from August onwards, with the help of another goal-scoring midfielder, West Ham are well set up to win games of football.
In terms of potential candidates, how about Wigan’s Shaun Maloney? He was superb last season and can operate in a deeper role, but still be a significant goal threat. Some may argue he hasn’t got the best goal-scoring record, but if he is playing as part of a dangerous West Ham team – this can change.
Maloney would also give defenders somebody else to think about. He gets into fantastic positions and can draw players away from his team-mates, opening up plenty of space elsewhere. Then, the Scotland international proved more than once that he is capable of producing a moment of magic. The last minute free-kick against Queens Park Rangers definitely stands out.
It is then all about shutting out the opposition, something which was a bit of a problem at times – particularly away from home. Allardyce’s men had a spell on the road when they conceded first and the floodgates opened. If they are to have the best possible chance of a top ten finish again – the amount of times this happened has to be reduced. A couple of defensive recruits would be more than welcome.
Who could fit the bill in this regard? It’s hard to say without knowing the transfer budget the Hammers have to work with, but Ludovic Sane has been linked and he wouldn’t break the bank. One of the star performers for Bordeaux last season, the 26-year-old is ready for the next challenge in his career and could add some youthful steel to Allardyce’s backline.
It musn’t be forgotten that Romanian Captain Razvan Rat has already come in too, so hopefully, a more experienced defence will have a solid look to it in the 2013/2014 season.
Overall, there isn’t a need for drastic changes. West Ham were excellent last season and achieved more than they thought possible. It is about fine tuning and improving the overall quality of the squad.
A couple of injuries last season and West Ham looked limited on options. If they are to push on, this can’t be the case from August onwards. An experienced defender, alternative proven goalscorer to Carroll and a creative midfielder to take the pressure off Nolan would be a great start to building a brighter future.
Then, a few early wins would go down well too! West Ham have superb momentum after finishing the campaign strongly and it is important to continue this in the transfer market and the opening weeks.
Bring on the new season!
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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