With Premier League status all but secured, is it time for West Ham United to start building for the 2013-14 season? With very few games to go and sitting in a relatively comfortable 11th place, very few West Ham supporters would argue that we are still fighting for survival.
First of all, the club must make Momo Diamé’s contract their priority. The signing of the season in terms of cost and impact, the feeling is universal that he is a player we want at the club next season, helping to push us further up the table. Another player who is out of contract at the end of this season is Gary O’Neil. The impact he made against West Brom was fantastic and his brilliant finish for the second goal showed that he is a fantastic back up player to Mark Noble. Carlton Cole also has his contract up at the end of the season. Cole is a fantastically loyal player who did a great job for us to regain our place in the Premier League. I feel however, his time is up. With reported demands of £40,000 a week, which are frankly ridiculous, Cole must be allowed to move on. Ian Holloway is allegedly keen to take him at Palace and willing to offer him what he wants.
Who do we sell? Joey O’Brien springs to mind. Joey has done a fantastic job wherever he has played this season, but with the likely signing of full backs, both Demel and McCartney are more naturally suited and even given McCartney’s injury problems, Dan Potts has shown that he has what it takes. Another player, and it pains me to say it, is Jack Collison. His injuries have plagued him too much and it is very sad because he is a fantastic player, though I fear he’ll spend too much time on the physio’s table than the pitch. All the more frustrating given the crucial goals he scored for us last season and the fantastic goals this year against Arsenal and Stoke. We can also expect the departures of Modibo Maïga and Alou Diarra. Personally, I feel that Maïga wasn’t given the chance he deserved. In very little playing time scored two goals in the league and two in the cup. (Remember that belter against Southampton?) I think him and Carroll could be deadly together. Diarra on the other hand, good riddance. £60,000 off the wage bill!
The summer should see us bring in a goalkeeper, full backs and another striker. Lindegaard springs to mind, though there are many others, as with full backs. Up top, I’d love to see Charlie Austin or Matej Vydra with us next season, partnering the big man, that is if Maïga leaves.
Of course, the issue flying round the press right now with West Ham surrounds the big fella. Andy Carroll. In my opinion, given recent performances and provided he can stay fit, he’ll prove his worth over the next couple of seasons. £12 million seems a fair price, and I think Carroll knows that he must lower his sights on wages.
These changes and additions, I believe will see us move ourselves further up the table next year. But who knows, maybe Big Sam can pull a bigger cat out of the bag yet! Or even David Sullivan. Wellington Paulista springs to mind.