When you look at the beginning of the season and compare it to West Hams form after Christmas, identifying the problem doesn’t take a genius to realise we are lacking goals. With the end of the season in sight, there is no question a proven goal-scorer needs to be added to the ranks. But just who should the club be keeping tabs on?
The Premier League is certainly no pushover and for strikers to make it here they need to take the few chances they get per game. History shows that there is no specific remedy to success for a striker to follow, the likes of Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen, Ruud Van Nistuory, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Aguero and Robin Van Persie, each proved capable of scoring goals, yet, neither of them adapted the same approach play – they just have that killer instinct needed to find the net – something West Ham united have seriously lacked in the second half of the season, after injuries for Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll kept them out for the rest of the season.
In light of recent injuries hindering the Hammers season, be sure to see the chairmen acting very cautiously when it comes to signings this summer. However, with Sakho being a huge success this season and Enner Valencia proving capable of finding the net, as well as Andy Carroll contributing (when not injured) we do have goals in the side – the problem is that no one can predict an injury and the timings are very unfortunate.
On the Andy Carroll front, fans are getting increasingly frustrated with him sitting on the physio table whilst raking in the clubs money in wages. It’s all good saying he is unplayable on his day (which he is) but what striker isn’t, when in form? The likelihood of Carroll moving on in the summer is slim, even more so if Sam Allerdyce remains manager of the club. However, West Ham can’t rely on him for half a season let alone 38 games, so why waste the money?
The club are being smart in letting Carlton Cole move on and if joined by Carroll in being shown the exit door it frees up vital space for a much more prolific striker to take their place. The question is, who is capable of taking on the Premier League?
Burak Yilmaz – Galatasaray
First up, is Burak Yilmaz who is currently playing for Turkish outfit Galatasaray AS. This season Yilmaz has managed to bag an impressive 16 goals in 25 league appearances contributing healthily to the clubs league position, as they currently sit in first, ahead of Fenerbahce SK and Besiktas JK, respectively.
Yilmaz has been linked with the Irons before, however nothing came of the speculation at the time and Yilmaz opted to sign for the Turkish giants from Trabzonspor in 2012.During his time at Trabzonspor he managed to score 55 goals in 75 appearances for the club, before replicating a similar record for Galaltasaray getting 56 goals in 86 appearances.
The downfall to this signing is that at the age of 29 he doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria of ‘one for the future’ and an investment in such a player would limit the club to regain any funds spent on him, if he were to move on after a year or two. On the flipside of things, in terms of goals he would be capable of contributing double figures each season if you go by the last 5 years of his career.
Overall, Yilmaz would be an exceptional signing; he’s powerful, clinical and would certainly be able to tussle with the premier leagues centre halves. His club would likely demand between £10 million and £15million for his services. Whether or not the club would see that as a worthy investment is yet to be seen, but could be an interesting one to keep an eye on.
Demba Ba – Besiktas JK
The former Hammer has been an important part of Slaven Billic’s side this season scoring 16 times in 26 appearances in the league, not to mention slotting home 5 goals in 5 games in the Europa League helping Besiktas JK, advance through to the knockout stages of the tournament.
Since his West Ham days Ba has silenced the fears of a knee injury and has gone on to play for Newcastle, Chelsea and Besiktas, bagging plenty of goals whilst on his travels, managing 76 goals in 162 appearances since 2010.
Based on his performances this year Ba has looked unplayable and with proven experience in the Premier League, the likelihood of interest in the player is high.
If West Ham were to sign the Senegalese forward for a second time, he would offer the manager another avenue of play, as he is quite different to the players already on the books at the east London club. Not to mention the fans would welcome him back with open arms.
In order to convince Besiktas JK to depart with the player it would take a similar sum to that of Yilmaz, as he has been a revelation since his first start for the club and they wouldn’t want to see him go on the cheap.
Here we have a player that is gifted when it comes to finding the net on a consistent basis pretty much his entire career.
Jonathan Soriano is a Spanish striker who began his career with Spanish side Espanyol making his way through the youth system and bagging 32 goals in 70 appearances for Espanyol B. He eventually left to join Barcelona B in 2009, prior to a series of loan spells with Almeria, Poli Ejido and Albacete. During his time with Barcelona B, Soriano netted an impressive 55 times in 79 appearances over the course of three years, helping him secure a move to Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg where his goal scoring record really started to take off.
Since signing for Red Bull Salzburg in 2012 he has scored a remarkable 90 times in 101 appearances, making it hard to believe that no one has enticed him away as of yet.
At the age of 29 he falls into the same category as Ba and Yilmaz, however with his proven goal-scoring record he would score goals in most leagues, if he is Premier League material is still unknown, but if you go by goals he is worth a punt.
Although he is crucial to Red Bulls success, it’s likely the Hammers would be able to prize the Spaniard away and sign him for just under the £10 million bracket. His pace, positioning and bravery going forward are great to see and maybe his flair is what West Ham have been missing.
Claudio Beauvue – En Forward Guingamp
Since last week the Hammers have been heavily linked with French star Claudio Beauvue who currently operates upfront for En Forward Guingamp.
This season has been the most successful spell of his career as of yet, managing to hit the back of the net 15 times in the league. The majority of his goals this year have been headers or from the penalty spot, proving he has an incredible leap and composure when the pressure is on.
The worry is his track record, until the current 14/15 season he struggled to score on a frequent basis. During his spell with Troyes between 2006 and 2012 he only netted 17 times in 99 appearances (a similar record to Carlton Cole, who scored 56 times in 256 times for the Hammers in 7 years with the club) which isn’t good enough for the Premier League.
When the board first signed Sakho his goal record wasn’t the best, however he proved this year to be crucial in a series of games until he suffered an injury that left him out for the remainder of the season. This puts it into perspective that a record doesn’t always speak volumes (well unless your Messi or Ronaldo – people always take note) and just like Sakho, if the Hammers were to sign Beauvue there is nothing saying he cannot emulate the performances of Sakho and become an instant success too.
If West Ham did opt for Beauvue over other options it’s fair to say he could be a bit of gamble as form is only temporary, but with a lot of similarities to Sakho in terms of his approach play and movement, it’s tempting to see how this one pans out. He would cost around £6 million and at the age of 27 he has a few more years on the previous names mentioned.
Nabil Fekir – Lyon
The 2nd youngest and most exciting option on the list is Lyon’s very own Nabil Fekir, who has been on fire this year in a partnership with the prolific Alexander Lacazette, helping them secure 2nd place in the French League 1 this year.
Originally Fekir operated as an attacking midfielder or winger, however this season he’s movement has seen him drift inwards, and allowing him to become more influential in games and it appears to be paying dividends.
Interest in Fekir is likely through the roof with Arsenal already chasing his signature. As a result his fee would be around the £15 million to £20million , which would likely see us priced out of a move for the promising 21 year old.
Fekir is a born runner with exceptional pace of the mark and is capable of reading the game to a level worthy of the Premier League. His a natural left footer but is equally astute on his right foot, allowing him to dribble past players with ease.
With two games remaining in the French League 1, Fekir has managed 12 goals in 27 games in the league, whilst also notching 2 in 2 games in the cup.
Here we have a player with great promise and unless West Ham try and snap him up this summer, the likelihood of him signing for a champions league outfit will be too much for the Irons to compete with.