West Ham United have had a fantastic season under Slaven Bilic and have taken a huge step towards becoming a top club in the Premier League with an abundance of top players and their upcoming move to the 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium.
Bilic has got them playing some wonderful football, which has been easy on the eye and effective against the top teams in the league; they beat every top ten side barring Stoke City and Leicester City this season.
Dimitri Payet has been a revelation, with his sparkling feet and hard-working attitude, he has contributed 12 goals and 12 assists in all competitions this campaign.
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Payet will be at the heart of this team going forward, but he has had ample backup this year in the form of fellow new signings Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio, who have each had outstanding first seasons in England's top division.
Antonio has scored 11 goals and really embodies the spirit and will power of this West Ham side. He is a tireless player who can score all types of goals and has been a fantastic addition by Bilic.
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Lanzini has been equally impressive, with his quick feet and creative ability going forward, he too has proved an excellent signing. This trio, as well as Andy Carroll and Mark Noble, all scored more than five league goals, and only three teams netted more times than the Hammers this season.
However, they are lacking that prolific goalscorer that would help raise them to the next level and allow them to compete for the Champions League places year in year out.
The loss at Stoke on the final day of the season was the perfect example of this need as Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll were both nuisances all day, but their end product was lacking.
The attacking midfield trio of Payet, Lanzini and Antonio can only score so many goals and they need to add a better quality finisher to compliment this fine group of players. Carroll is outstanding on his day, but the way West Ham would like to set up and play isn't always whipping crosses in, and although Sakho is excellent at getting behind defenders, his finishing isn't always reliable.
They squandered numerous chances in the box on Sunday that ultimately cost them the game and may lose them a spot in the Europa League. This has been an occurrence that has hurt their ambitions this year and one should also note the 1-1 draw in the first leg of their FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford, where they missed a flurry of simple chances to put the game away before Manchester United netted a late equaliser.
United would then go on to win the second leg when West Ham really should have buried the tie early in the first encounter. Sakho and Carroll should both be retained, if possible, as both have value as impact players, but the ambitions of the owners makes it necessary to spend big and bring in a top class finisher.
The ownership have not been shy in revealing that they will aggressively pursue a number of targets this summer, and they have been linked with some top names in Europe already.
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette, Michy Batshuayi of Marseille, and out of favour Liverpool striker Christian Benteke, are just three of the names that have been associated with the London club so far and all three would represent an upgrade on their current personnel.
The Hammers are seemingly willing to splash big money to land their man and are signalling their intentions for a blockbuster first season at their new home in Stratford.
A top quality striker is really all that is missing from this side and the addition of one of the aforementioned players would go a long to helping them achieve the status they are working towards in English football.
What striker should West Ham United sign ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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