This season has been absolutely packed with surprises.
The apparent ease with which Watford and Bournemouth, who both came up from the Championship, have secured their places in the league for next term. The excellent form of Tottenham Hotspur, the under radar success of Southampton, the collapse of Chelsea and of course, Leicester City emphatically winning their first Premier League title in their history, have all contributed to a thrilling term of football.
Another one of these shocks has been the classy way that West Ham United have mounted a Europa League challenge.
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The Hammers have been a wonderful team to watch, and this great season has been a fitting goodbye to their long serving stadium, Upton Park. In the summer they will move to the new Olympic stadium, which can hold 60,000 people.
This move is possibly a mark of intent from West Ham. They are not willing to settle, they want to grow and expand, but how far can the Hammers realistically aim?
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The club will enjoy the benefits of European football next season, and looking to confirm this again next season may be a good move. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and possibly Leicester, will all be aiming for at least top five next season.
Throw West Ham into the mix and it shows a battle at the top, eight teams challenging for five spots.
If the Hammers are to rise to this challenge, they may have to change a few things. A busy transfer window will benefit the club. A top quality striker would be an excellent purchase for the club, despite the fact they have scored the most goals, 64, outside of the top four.
Their joint top scorers in the league are Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll. Payet has been an absolute revelation, controlling the midfield, whilst Carroll has recently come back from an injury and has found his feet quickly.
Striker and Midfielder Needed
So why do West Ham need a striker? It is clear that teams with consistent goal scorers finish higher. Jamie Vardy for Leicester, Harry Kane for Spurs, Sergio Aguero for Man City, and at the other end of the table, Jermain Defoe has helped Sunderland escape the drop.
Although West Ham have managed it this season, to move forwards, a forward to bang them in week after week will add more weight to their challenge.
It seems their manager, Slaven Bilic has already identified this, with rumours about the Marseille's striker, Michy Batshuayi, who has scored 17 goals this season.
Bilic may also want to look at his midfield, and look for reinforcements for if his key players like Payet, and Mark Noble should they pick up injuries.
Can West Ham push for Champions League? No, probably not just yet. There is too much competition in the top four with the fresh blood of Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte, looking to make immediate impacts in the English top flight.
This shouldn't disappoint fans of the club though; they will still be able to enjoy their team, playing their stylish football in the Europa League, and no matter where they finish, it will surely be exciting under Bilic.
What striker should West Ham United try and sign this summer? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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