With West Ham all but safe, sitting ten points clear of the drop zone with only five games remaining, co-owner David Gold has expressed his determination to avoid yet another relegation battle next year. With recent victories over both Hull and Sunderland, the club have already began engaging in possible transfer and contract talks with current and prospective signings.
Gold, speaking in the match day programme, said: “With the security of 37 points, our plans for next season have now begun and budgets are being discussed with regards to strengthening the squad.
“We are determined to move the club forward and take the next step up from being a mid-table team.”
It would appear that several players may well be leaving Upton Park come the end of the season; Jack Collison, Modibo Maiga, Joe Cole, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Alou Diarra, Marco Borriello and Antonio Noceriono are all part of a list of players under scrutiny who are expected to leave in the summer.
This summer clear out works in correspondence with a shift in transfer policy at the club. The owners feel that some of Big Sam’s signings have proved to be wasteful and feel that they need a bigger say in who comes into the club. Personally, I can see this as a positive thing as over the last couple of years, there has certainly been more than just the odd signing with a huge amount of potential and promise who has found themselves sitting in the dugout week in week out watching on from the side lines.
There have been a number of transfer rumours in the past week regarding the ex-West Ham and current Manchester United duo Rio Ferdinand (35) and Michael Carrick (32). Ferdinand, whose contract runs out in the summer, has made a mere nine league starts this season. Similarly, Manchester United are looking to offload ageing midfielder Carrick has struggled alongside Fellaini this season.
The rumoured transfers of both of these players, who once were key players for both club and country worry me as a West Ham fan hoping to build and strengthen the squad for the future. Allardyce and the owners should be looking for younger players with a bit of creativity and sparkle, rather than players coming to the end of their careers.
With the bottom of the table looking as tight as I can remember, Big Sam and the board should be keeping a close eye on possible players being released from relegated clubs. Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has a huge future ahead of him and would fit into the side perfectly, offering pace and an ability to pick out Andy Carroll from both flanks. Fellow Sunderland attacker Connor Wickham could also provide another option for Allardyce as he offers something totally different to Carroll up front.
Other options to at least consider should be players such as Nathan Redmond, Jordan Mutch, Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone, Wilfried Bony, Dan Burn to name a handful of players who have, in my opinion proved themselves to be of Premiership quality.
With an eventful run-in looking imminent, I am hoping that the owners stick to their word and offer the West Ham fans what they deserve… a season without yet another relegation battle. However, if the speculation about bringing in players such as Carrick and Ferdinand is true then I am not going to get my hopes up for next year!