A prolific striker is every club’s crown jewel in the makeup of a well-crafted starting XI.
The goals and the glory that they bring, in such a low scoring sport often leaves other positions unnoticed – the tip of the spear in a striker is where fan attention focuses, or perhaps a high scoring winger.
West Ham would do well with either and have enjoyed two fine hybrids in Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio. Sebastien Haller appeared to be the answer to the striker problem with West Ham fans salivating over the marquee signing but their mouths for lack of cheering quickly turned dry as he added less to the goal tally and more to the tally of wasted strikers.
West Ham have had 49 strikers since 2010 scoring only 289 goals in total, and with Antonio’s hamstrings ravaged by injury, who can West Ham rely on?
Here are five options that have been linked with us, starting with Tammy Abraham.
The 23-year-old Chelsea striker and England international started to set the English footballing world a light under Lampard Jr’s youth-driven Chelsea squad.
Being a pacy 6’3 striker, Abraham is able to unlock defenses with incisive runs and good positioning as well as using his frame to be a target man. His heat map records a lot of runs through central areas and he has six goals in 20 appearances.
He is also able to play off someone or alone up top as Moyes favors. After Lampard left Chelsea, Tammy hasn’t been able to get into Tuchel’s team leaving this burgeoning star looking for playing time, which is perfect for a healthy West Ham team needing a striker.
But with a possible transfer fee of £20-30million, and an £80k a week salary, plus a few other top six clubs hungry for a young striker accustomed to the Premier League, West Ham’s chance might be more wishful thinking.
Looking down to the Championship and there’s Adam Armstrong from Blackburn who is the next clear choice of West Ham, and has been rumored to be a Moyes favourite.
This diminutive 24-year-old Rover who stands at 5’8” would not possess the bully-body of Antonio or the height of Abraham, but he’s extremely versatile. Able to cover every attacking position, Armstrong finds the right spaces and channels to move in, and has scored 19 goals in 31 appearances in the Championship.
Blackburn are underperforming at the moment so bolstering their squad with a big sale might be their greater glory.
The rumoured transfer fee has, however, increased from £10mil- lion six months ago to £25million, which would be too rich for us. Perhaps Newcastle’s sell-on clause of 40% is the reason for Blackburn’s inflated price.
WIth competition currently from Brighton, perhaps a deal could be struck, but dithering David Moyes would have to be all in.
Extending beyond the English leagues to a place of Eastern gems, Slavia Prague currently has two attacking players that have been linked to us: Abdallah Sima and Jan Kuchta.
Sima has been the primary name linked with West Ham with the chairman of Slavia Prague even having to dispel a rumour of an inflated £35million transfer price.
Among West Ham’s rumoured striker search, Sima is the youngest at 19 years old but after one year at Slavia Prague, he has already netted 15 goals in 22 appearances.
Sima stands at 6’2” and favours Moyes’ style of play as he tends to play wide and drift in, with a bold physical presence. He also has an intelligent reading of the game, and was only bought for £108k. Affordable and with room to grow, Sima would be an ideal choice.
Jan Kuchta, the secondary choice from the Slavia Prague scouting selection, has a different style of play from Sima and is better known for his workrate and aggressiveness, not unlike his Slavia Prague forerunner Coufal.
He’s scored 13 goals in 25 appearances and has been labelled the new Thierry Henry. Purchased for £2million and on a salary of £2k a week, the Czech star seems to yield yet another affordable option for budget conscious Moyes.
The last option worth noting from the lengthy striker option list is Sasa Kalajdzic who is currently playing for Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, and towers over all other contenders at a whopping 6’7”.
The 23-year-old target man with 13 goals in 24 appearances bears resemblance to Peter Crouch’s stature, has the ability to add to build-up play and has good movement on the ball. Liverpool has been eyeing Sasa up and with various options coming in, his transfer might be overly competitive.
With our current position and likelihood of getting into the Europa League if not the Champions League, West Ham will once again be an attractive club to be a part of.
Though Antonio is the favoured striker and Moyes’ starter, his age, injury history and recent declaration for Jamaica might leave him vulnerable to being overtaken for primary striker leaving a young hungry player a future at West Ham.
Hopefully Moyes will sign one or two forwards, so that he doesn’t have to rely on Yarmolenko or Bowen who haven’t shown they are goalscorers from a striker position.
If all else fails they’ll be available with the possibility of the addition of Lingard as a false nine.
The great hope is that West Ham’s 50th player given the Number 9 role will be able to break into the Premier League and add to West Ham’s newly found success with the ability to put the ball in the back of the net to a returned roaring crowd.