This was meant to be the season where it all kickstarted for a new-era West Ham United. A second season in their Olympic Stadium and a summer spending spree overseen by the highly-anticipated appointment of Premier League winner Manuel Pellegrini, had set the stage for the Hammers to nail it this season. But a life away from Upton Park continues to burden the club, who’s dreams of European qualification seem to be on hold until next year.

A positive first half of the season has been partnered by a patchy second, with just four league wins for West Ham in 2019. Having a huge amount of transfers in 2018 summer transfer window, Pellegrini’s pockets were empty come January and the only transfer they could muster was the free signing of Samir Nasri. Almost £90 million was spent pre-season on the likes of Felipe Anderson from Lazio, Issa Diop from Toulouse, and Andrii Yarmolenko from Borussia Dortmund, which made West Ham the joint-seventh favourites to lift the Premier League title this season at 250/1.

Who could be leaving West Ham?

West Ham really did throw all their eggs in one basket this season, and came close to breaching certain FFP rules with their avid summer of spending. It means that this summer’s budgets will be slashed, and Pellegrini is being forced to offload squad members before recruiting them, who’s players average annual salary exceeds £3 million a year.

Likely to leave the club this summer is Lucas Perez. The Spanish winger joined in the summer from Arsenal, having spent last season on loan at Deportivo. But Perez has only been given 12 appearances in the league this year, eight being as a substitute. Also rumoured to be on the way out is Andy Carroll, who’s at 5/2 to be playing at his former club Newcastle next season. The forward has been blighted by injury since his move to West Ham, making just 62 Premier League starts in six years after joining from Liverpool.

Who’s on Pellegrini’s transfer radar?

Should Pellegrini get the Hammers in a position to recruit this summer, he’ll need to do it better than he did last time. He spent £16 million on Javier Hernandez, who’s scored just nine goals in all competitions for West Ham this season. The club has been in desperate need of a striker since their return to the top-flight way back in 2005, and they haven’t had a single player break the twenty-goal mark in the league since.

According to Sky Sports, West Ham have already identified a potential striker in Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez. The Uruguayan missed out on a move to West Ham in January when Marko Arnautovic’s voyage to China fell through. But despite scoring just twice in 2019, Gomez remains a summer target of Pellegrini’s, who’s priced at 13/8 to fulfil his £43 million release clause at Vigo. Recent news also suggests that West Ham have already agreed a deal with Besiktas JK for Gary Medel. The Chilean could bring some much-needed experience in the central midfield alongside Noble and Rice.

West Ham’s form in front of goal may not be great, but their performances at the other end have been their main footfall. The fact that Lukas Fabianski has made twenty more saves than any other keeper in the Premier League this season says two things: that the Polish keeper was Pellegrini’s best signing of the summer, and that the defence in front of him are letting in too much traffic.

To try and plug the hole, West Ham are set to raid their London rivals Chelsea. Outcasts Gary Cahill and Danny Drinkwater are both on the radar of Pellegrini’s, and would give the side a sturdier core, and ease some of the pressure on Fabianski. West Ham are the bookies fourth favourites to sign Cahill at 12/1, whilst Drinkwater is at 2/1 to move to any Italian club, and West Ham his next likeliest move at 6/1. If are looking to take a punt on some of these bets, a great tip is to visit Best Free Bets  and check out all the latest promo codes offered by the major online bookmakers. Who doesn’t like a free bet?


Retaining their best players

Recruiting is just half of the task that lay ahead for West Ham, who will have a battle to keep their top players this coming summer. It’s likely that the Hammers will face another test to retain Arnautovic this summer, who was as short as 6/4 to join Chelsea in January, and has been labelled with a £45 million price tag by Pellegrini.

Also linked with a move out of the Olympic Stadium is summer signing Felipe Anderson. The Brazilian has had a good debut season in England, scoring eight goals in the Premier League and earning the title of the ‘Nutmeg King’. But if Zinedine Zidane fails to bring Eden Hazard to Real Madrid (again) this summer, he’s tipped to turn towards Felipe Anderson instead.

But the biggest fear for West Ham fans this summer is the possibility of Declan Rice leaving. It’s been the breakthrough season for the former Irishman, who’s been an integral part of England recent Euro 2020 qualifiers. Rice came close to joining the league leaders Manchester City in January, but is now odds on to stay with his boyhood club West Ham at 8/11. Alternatively, you can get 5/2 on Rice to join Manchester United in the summer, and 7/2 to join City.

The road ahead

It’s likely to be a busy summer of business for West Ham, who are in need of a clear out to take the stress off of their mounting wage bill. Only then can Pellegrini recruit, and he’ll be hoping that the players he can bring in will stay fit, and fill the gaps in the current format.

The battle for West Ham though is to keep hold of their top performers. Arguably their three best players in Arnautovic, Anderson and Rice are likely going to be talked about in the summer, and retaining them is vital to the club’s rebuilding phase. It’s a long road ahead for Pellegrini and West Ham, but if all goes well this summer, they could soon find themselves battling for continental qualification.


By Geo

I am the Scottish one in the videos, I idolise Liam Gallagher and enjoy maltesers. I will forever be convinced Mark Noble is a good player and will forever be convinced that Kouyate needs to play centre back. I once applied for The Apprentice and got told my plan was useless but at least it did not include a running track.

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