This transfer window is going to be an absolutely crucial one for the club because of the number of players that I feel that we need to bring in. Whilst Moyes operated with a small squad this season, many didn’t expect him to do as well as he did.
The fact that our one injury prone forward managed to go – for the first time in his West Ham career – without getting a sniff of an injury was a major achievement by him and the club. This is a situation that cannot be repeated, however, because whilst we could play Bowen up top and Yarmolenko had a go, we had no real plan B when Antonio wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
It is so important that at least one – but I would argue two forwards – are brought in during the summer window. It is impossible to know at this point in the window exactly which targets we will narrow down on, but I know there are names already being looked at.
Domestically the manager has an interest in Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa, Armando Broja (Chelsea forward on loan at Southampton) and Ben Brereton Díaz of Blackburn. There may also be some interest in Watford forward Emmanuel Dennis.
Scouts have been deployed abroad with a particular focus on the French league where a number of the top scorers in that league have been watched. I actually think we need to sign a marquee forward to challenge and probably take Antonio’s first team place and a young forward who we can develop for the next few years.
When you think about how many signings we need it could really be as high as 10 when you consider we will also be losing: Noble, Kral, Areola (at the moment from his loan), Yarmolenko, Martin and Fredericks. This doesn’t consider the fact that we may also entertain offers for Randolph, Vlasic. Diop and Masauku. Not to mention the ongoing will-he-won’t-he with Declan Rice. With this in consideration, you hope a number of players will be brought in.
A centre back is another definite. Whilst I expect Ogbonna to be given a new one year deal, he and Dawson are in their 30s. We ideally want at least one left-sided centre back and if Diop does leave – and there is interest – another centre back.
Centre backs we have definitely watched are Joe Worrell of Nottingham Forest, Nikola Milenković of Fiorentina, who we were close to signing last year, Sven Botman of Lille and Nayef Aguerd of Rennes. The latter is said to have already had some talks with the club.
We need a left back to challenge Aaron Cresswell. Names that we have supposedly looked at are Aaron Hickey of Bologna, Owen Wijndal of Az, who is a Dutch international with a £10m release clause. Of course there will be a lot of interest in both players and other targets will be on the radar too.
We need to make a decision as to whether we try to keep Areola, something I feel we should. There is some talk we could get him on loan for another season, or that he could sign permanently with PSG (his former club) subsidising some of his wages.
There was some interest in Sam Johnstone, a keeper who is on a free from WBA, and Nick Pope of relegated Burnley.
We could also do with a couple of midfielders/wingers. I again know we have a lot of interest in Keane Lewis-Potter of Hull and I suspect an offer will be made for him and Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest.
The free transfer market is also going to be one that I am sure we will look to exploit. There are a number of players that we have previously had interest in like Jesse Lingard who are available domestically and interesting prospects like Boubacar Kamara of Marseille all out of contract. Annoyingly I think Newcastle are going to be a real threat to these potential signings with their new found wealth.
I also suspect one or two loans from abroad will happen as well to bolster the squad.
I hope academy prospects like Conor Coventry, who had a great loan spell at MK Dons, Oko-Flex, Dan Chesters and others all get a chance to impress and push for a squad place in pre-season.
I think the recruitment that we make in the summer is crucial to see whether we continue with the successful seasons that we have had these last two years. It could also be a way of convincing Declan Rice to stick around. We need to show ambition and that we can win things and this window is where it has to happen.
Even though the season is coming to an end, The West Ham Way Patreon will go from strength to strength. We‘re well-known for our accurate and detailed documentation of the transfer windows. We will have regular transfer features on the show plus the usual content throughout the summer.
We already have the likes of Slaven Bilic, Jermain Defoe and Stewart Downing booked in for interviews, not to mention the many others. There is so much content for £5 a month you really are missing out if you don’t at least try it.