The team have returned for pre-season training and are currently camped in Austria under what one imagines is a new fitness regime courtesy of our new head coach Gary Lewin. This hopefully does not involve the wearing of leder hosen and the slapping of thighs.

Despite speculation to the contrary it would appear that perma-crock Andy Carroll is with the squad, though it’s possible that the Big Man may well be in “recovery” mode from his latest misdemeanour so the chances of him being fit for Christmas may still be slim.

In the meantime if anyone knows the whereabouts of Diafra Sakho can they please contact the club immediately. We play our first pre-season match next Monday against Sturm Graz followed by Fulham on the 20th July and though results are unimportant at this stage, us West Ham fans know that anything less than a series of resounding victories will be deemed a complete failure.

Past experience tells us a good pre-season does not always guarantee that the season itself will be successful but hitting the ground running will at least give us some hope that we will be able to negotiate what is a tricky start to 17/18 with 4 of our first 5 matches away from home and Lukaku eagerly anticipating the prospect of playing against his favourite defenders in the opening game.

Transfer Speculation

In the meantime speculation continues regarding the acquisition of new recruits though at least some of the rumours flying around at the moment seem to have more substance than previous ones, most of which were obtained via a blurred photograph taken at a motorway service station on the M5. The top target as of yesterday would appear to have been Arnautovic of Stoke, he of the dodgy haircut and even dodgier knee injury. The Potters are playing hard ball, much to the dismay of the player and his agent who are keen on the move, citing Stoke’s “lack of ambition” as a reason for departure. Wonder what Dimitri Payet would make of that comment?

So our next acquisition could be that well-known 20-goal a season striker, Joe Hart with a loan deal expected to be announced imminently though there is some confusion as to who he would replace should he sign on the dotted line. A recent bid from Middlesbrough for Randolph was turned down with the club suggesting that he is not for sale, so my smart money is on Adrian departing despite him having recently signed a new deal which, as Scott Parker knows, doesn’t actually mean anything. Crystal Palace are showing some interest and methinks Mr San Miguel De Castillo may be on his proverbial bike.

Striker Hunt

Improving the goalkeeping position is one thing but it’s attackers we need as at the moment Fletcher & Martinez are the only fit forwards that we have on our books. (Ayew doesn’t count in my opinion) So what’s the latest from Super Slav regarding our potential new forward? “Everybody is talking about a striker, but it is very hard to find them” Slav says “Especially as we are not looking at bringing them in to be just in or around the squad, or expect them to come good in a couple of years” No prizes for guessing that he’s probably talking about a certain young Man City player that we were linked with recently. Having already missed out on Defoe & Giroud, this is frustrating news. One can only hope that negotiations are afoot to bring in a striker that can walk straight into our first team, preferably without taking a visit to the treatment room first.