The final club being examined in this series is the struggling West Ham United. This surely is not one of the finest years in Avram Grant’s managerial career. He experienced hard times at Portsmouth last season and just when he thought he had a fresh start at Upton Park, he finds himself dead last in the table with the guillotine dangling perilously above his head, ready to drop at any given time.
He’s been given a stay of execution, though, and will be given the opportunity to bring some players in to save both the club and his job. Despite how things may may look, it hasn’t been all bad for West Ham, though. Players like Victor Obinna have proven to be a shining light in what has been a season of darkness for the club. Inspiration and determination demonstrated week-in, week-out by Scott Parker has been another positive. A stunning victory over Carling Cup holders, Manchester United, is also a wonderful memory to hold on to.
Those are things that West Ham can build on and feed off of as a means of confidence at a time when it’s needed most. Confidence can also be derived from the upcoming, January transfer window. Getting the right players in will do the club a lot of good as they fight to beat the drop. What positions need strengthening at West Ham, though?
(1) RB– West Ham have had their share of defensive problems this term. The fact that they’re bottom of the league and tied for the worst goal difference gives testimony to that. The likes of James Tomkins and Manuel da Costa (currently injured) haven’t been doing too badly in the central area of defence. However, the Full Backs are being run ragged. Lars Jacobsen and Julien Faubert haven’t exactly impressed this season. New Right Backs need to be brought in if West Ham are to fix their defensive problems.
(2) LB– With Herita Ilunga out of favor and Jonathan Spector apparently more at home in midfield, it is clear that Avram Grant needs two Left Backs at the club. Tal Ben Haim has been forced to play there, but hopefully, he won’t have to do that much longer.
(3) CM/CAM– Despite being a holding midfielder, Scott Parker has been the driving force in West Ham’s midfield. He takes a lot on his shoulders and while that’s admirable, he needs some help. Mark Noble is unavailable for the time being, but even when he gets fit, the club will still need two creative reinforcements for the central midfield area.
(4) Striker– With doubts concerning the future of Carlton Cole coupled with the inconsistency of Frederic Piquionne, it is clear that some quality firepower is needed up top for the Hammers. Zavon Hines is back from injury, but he is not quite ready to command a first team place. The onus has been on Victor Obinna and to be fair, he hasn’t disappointed. Excellent performances this term have seen him become a fans’ favorite. Grant would do well to tie him down to a permanent deal. Obinna can’t do it all on his own, however. Thus, the fact remains that two strikers need to be brought in to add some much needed ruthlessness in front of goal. Two, provided that Cole is sold. If Cole remains at the club, then just one striker should be brought in.
Those are the needs of West Ham, in terms of playing staff. It’s been a turbulent year for them, but with a few changes, they can recover. This January transfer window is crucial for their survival. Hopefully, they can get the right players in and ultimately, save their season.