In the space of a few days, West Ham’s striker department has dropped from four options to two. Michail Antonio’s injury and Javier Hernandez’s departure has left West Ham with limited options in their attack.
Antonio is, of course, more naturally suited to the winger role. But he has played as a centre-forward in the past and has the qualities to fill in there if needed. However, he suffered an injury against Newport County and could be out until the new year.
Meanwhile, West Ham have sold Hernandez to Sevilla. It was a deal that was too good to refuse for the West Ham board. Chicharito only had one year remaining on his deal and the Hammers have pocketed a decent transfer fee for a 31-year-old.
But the problem with the Mexican’s exit is that West Ham are overly reliant on Sebastien Haller and Albian Ajeti. Haller looks good but Ajeti is not yet up to speed and there is no third-choice option if one gets injured. This is where Xande Silva could come in.
Xande Silva: Time to shine?
West Ham need Silva more than ever. The young striker has had so many injury problems since joining last summer but has caught the eye when fully fit. West Ham need him to make a swift recovery from his serious summer injury – which required surgery – and get back to his best.
Silva joined West Ham from Vitoria last summer and scored a hat-trick on his U23 debut against Tottenham Hotspur. He ended up scoring seven goals in just eight league matches for the U23 team. That is a goalscoring record that catches your attention.
Manuel Pellegrini gave Silva a promotion to the first-team and he featured with a 17-minute cameo against Burnley in the Premier League. Shortly after, Silva played 79 minutes and looked lively in the FA Cup win over Birmingham City.
But once again, injuries held the Portugal youth international back. He would have been given more opportunities if not for persistent niggles and then the serious injury in the summer.
After a difficult first season off the pitch, Silva now has a golden opportunity to become a West Ham first-team player. The 22-year-old is expected back in September and West Ham need him to immediately hit the ground running and step up to the first-team.