Both David Gold and David Sullivan have come out and said that in terms of further signings this summer, we will be looking at the attacking end of the pitch over the defensive side. And that makes sense, as after adding Razvan Rat and Adrian to what was already a solid back five, including Jussi in goal, the focus turns to the other end of the pitch. Scoring goals is essential to staying in this league, which I’ve naturally learnt is the very first priority in a season at West Ham, no matter how good our squad looks to be. So after adding Andy Carroll, not a goalscorer week-in, week-out so far, their attention has turned to trying to find a natural goalscorer, whose goals will propel us to at least mid-table, if not higher.
The first thing I’ll say is I still don’t see the point in buying a striker to go into the first team with Andy Carroll up front. We may get a few more goals from the front two, but we would have to make a big sacrifice somewhere else on the pitch, by losing someone from the middle of midfield to accommodate for the new striker. Like I’ve said before, Nolan will get you 10 goals a season from midfield, Noble sweeps up in front of the back four and is a very solid player all over the park, not to mention a brilliant penalty taker, and Diame is that flair player who gets us on the edge of our seats, scores some fantastic, and important, goals and is also decent winning the ball back in the middle. One of them would have to go to make room for another striker.
And the system we used last year guided us to a top ten finish, so why change it? I don’t disagree that we do need another striker, as the only back up for Carroll currently is Modibo Maiga, who does have it in him to be a top player I think. However, the striker we should get would be more of a backup striker if I was making the decisions.
However, the flipside is that whatever we lose from midfield, we would make up for it with the goals from the new striker. As yet though, we’ve not had much luck bringing him in. After failed attempts to sign Alvaro Negredo and Wilfried Bony, who have ended up at Premier League rivals Manchester City and Swansea respectively for pretty hefty price tags, as well as having to pull out of a deal for Colombian forward Duvan Zapata from Estudiantes due to problems getting hold of a work permit, we’ve found ourselves still without this striker.
There is no doubt these players would have been decent signings. Bony scored an incredible 31 league goals in 30 games over in Holland, proving he is a natural goalscorer. However, just by looking at him, he doesn’t strike me as too different from Carroll, just has more goals in poorer league on his record. Then you have Negredo, who we won’t see much of at City with the competition for places at that club. But in a much better league last year, La Liga, Negredo scored 25 goals at Sevilla, so could of definitely cut it, and work with Carroll’s knockdowns. And Zapata, he was a bit unknown, but apparently over in Colombia he was seen as an understudy for Falcao in the national team, and was widely expected to be the next Colombian to make the break in Europe after Falcao.
So, who are we left with? Well, the one rumour flying about at the moment in Gary Hooper from Celtic. He’s quick, a brilliant finisher, especially around the box, with a tally of 63 goals in the last three SPL seasons. He’s also strong, can hold a ball up when asked to, and links up well with the midfield. So, he would probably compliment Carroll quite well. He’s never proven himself in the Premier League, which is a slight worry as it’s a big step across the border, but did get himself four goals in Europe last year, so he wasn’t lost on the bigger stage. Plus, he’d be keen on a move to West Ham, having been born in Harlow and still owning a place in Loughton.
There are other players we are probably after that we haven’t heard about yet, but Hooper is the most likely option I’ve heard so far. The other one I’ve heard is Salomon Kalou, but I’ve always thought of him more as a winger, despite the ability to play up top.
Either way, with my firm belief we shouldn’t change system, the striker I would go for I Franco Di Santo, as a backup kind of player for Carroll and Maiga. He’s not a player that set’s the world alight, but he’s not a bad player, has his touches of class every now and then, can score the odd goal, and most importantly seeing as he’s just backup, is on a free transfer after his contract ran out at Wigan. That’s just my opinion though, and I feel I’m in the minority. The majority of the fans I’ve spoken to seem to want another top class striker, but each to their own I guess.