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Assessing West Ham’s Summer so far…

After making some impressive signings in Javier Hernandez and Joe Hart, here we rate West Ham’s summer so far.

After a sub-par season last year, preceded by a lacklustre summer, West Ham needed to make some significant moves in this off-season to improve things. Moves have been made, and impressive ones at that, but you still feel that the biggest gaps are yet to be filled…

New Number 1?

Don’t ask Adrian if he thinks Joe Hart is nailed on to be the new Number One at the London Stadium, just ask David Sullivan… In all seriousness, Joe Hart will probably prove to be a great signing, even if it’s only on loan. Likely to get the starting role in goal from the start, Hart will remind us all why he’s still England’s number one. 10 or so games without a blunder, and a few worldie saves to match, will get the fans on side and the media hailing him as England’s first choice for next summer’s trip to Russia. If it turns into a permanent signing in January or beyond, similar to Lanzini’s deal, then Bilic et al. deserve some real credit for this one. A few big English characters in the dressing room, Carroll and Noble to name a couple, should convince Hart that East London is the place to rebuild his Premier League career.

With Randolph sold to Middlesbrough, Adrian will fight hard for the starting spot, and remain a fans favourite after a few years of great service.

Verdict: Good Bit of Business

Goals, Goals, Goals…

Has there been a better signing at West Ham over the past few years than Javier Hernandez? Dimitri Payet? Not one that comes to mind… Lanzini and Antonio have both made impacts of their own, and Aaron Cresswell has been the first man on the teamsheet for a couple of years now, but Chicharito could be the man to keep Slaven in a job and West Ham in the hunt for a European slot. A partnership with Big Andy up top sounds lethal in prospect, a clean bill of health is all that’s needed in that area. The thought of intricate passing moves between Lanzini and Hernandez are already getting fans (one confirmed at the moment) very, very excited.

Marko Arnautovic represents another attacking option, and in the free role in a 3-4-3 formation, the best of him might be seen. The danger with someone like Arnautovic is that if he finds himself out of the team for whatever reason, his temperament can come into question. Defensive liability, certainly, but he can be a difference maker and a match winner.

Verdict: From ‘Mid Table’ to ‘Europa League’?

Gaps still to be filled?

Even before Cheikh Kouyate picked up an injury that will rule him out for a few games, Central Midfield was a clear point of weakness. Holding on to Pedro Obiang was a vote of confidence for his position within the squad, and rightly so as he’s never let the team down. But with Mark Noble’s powers on the decline and Edmilson Fernandes still in his Premier League infancy, back-up is severely in need. Playing as part of a central 2 between wing backs is a specialist role, it takes a high level of fitness and a strong partnership. A player of Kouyate’s ilk is perfect, but at the moment there’s only one of him, and he’s injured…

So far the recruitment actions at the club have been great, but there’s still work to be done…

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