The 2016/17 Premier League campaign was supposed to be one of great excitement for West Ham United. The move to London’s Olympic Stadium possessed enough potential to propel the Hammers right there amongst the upper echelons of the English top-flight, but whilst such an eventuality could still theoretically take place for the club in the not too distant future, right now – West Ham remain some way off truly troubling the Premier League’s big-boys.
In-fact, if Slaven Bilic and his determined outfit seemingly fail to buck their collective ideas up for the remainder of the current season, the once unforeseeable threat of relegation could indeed come round to haunt the Hammers faithful sooner rather than later.
So then, just what has been behind West Ham’s recent failure to assert themselves among the English top-flight? Are there are series of wider problems at play here, or is the club simply struggling as a result of what looks to be one seriously bad summer in terms of player recruitment?
Our summer signings have just been atrocious
— West Ham Info (@WestHam_OS) November 19, 2016
Seems like another glorious afternoon for West Ham's summer signings. Just sell the lot of them. Every one.
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) November 19, 2016
Well, although both David Sullivan and David Gold of the West Ham United boardroom staff were overly keen on expressing their desire to bring a ‘20-goal-a-season-striker’ to the East-End this summer, the Hammers chairmen ultimately failed to deliver on their ambitious promises – instead opting to land a series of free agents, surprise loanies and relatively unheard of youngsters in order to fill the void.
Granted, West Ham did nonetheless see fit to splash out £20 million on Swansea City’s Andre Ayew towards the end of the latest summer transfer window – but as the hard-working Ghanaian international simply operates as a winger first and foremost – such a move has been painted out as little more than an expense panic buy to appease the growing concerns of the Hammers faithful.
The likes of Gokhan Tore, Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza all look set on re-joining their parent clubs once the January transfer window finally comes around, each of Havard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli and Alvaro Arbeloa have failed to implement themselves within Slaven Bilic’s first team plans – and whilst several young, up and coming stars such as Edimilson Fernandes and Ashley Fletcher have admittedly looked decent thus far – their contribution alone will not be enough to keep the points ticking over down at London’s Olympic Stadium this season.
Yes, some of West Ham’s recently acquired assets could certainly serve to turn things around before it’s too late. Both Feghouli and Ayew possess enough quality to make it among the Premier League, and are arguably yet to receive enough first team action to really stake their claim in the claret & blue of West Ham United.
But as the Hammers were desperately crying out for both an established right-back, as well as a top class centre-forward capable of filling in for Andy Carroll whenever the big man would inevitably find himself injured out on the side-lines – the West Ham United chairmen completely failed to deliver in what could perhaps turn out to be the most important and consequential transfer window of the club’s recent history.