Alan Curbishley was roped in at West Ham with two objectives in mind.
The overriding, obvious target was to avoid relegation and stay in the Premiership for another season.
The second objective was to ensure that this club built a foundation on which it could begin to challenge consistenly for Europe.
With Boa Morte, Quashie and Davenport, Curbishley is bringing in players he needs to plug gaps in West Ham’s squad, simultaneously giving West Ham the quality to survive as well as putting together a team that will do well next season.
However, there are two big problems for Curbishley and West Ham.
First, they’re bottom of the pile as far as the ‘relegation-escapists’ are concerned. Wigan and Sheffield United have been busy in the transfer period as well, desperate to survive, while Ashley Young is in talks with Aston Villa (after rejecting West Ham, I might add).
Boro and Fulham are 8 and 9 points clear of West Ham and with 15 games left to go, that difference could be too much to cover. Neither team has done much in terms of strengthening, but then again they have the quality to survive.
Second, West Ham know that they just can’t buy the talent they need (Upson and Young, two top targets, are headed elsewhere). They have to make best use of the players they already have on their books and that means that Curbishley will have his job cut out trying to coax goals out of Tevez, Harewood and the rest.
Can Curbishley do it? Time, circumstances, and history is against him, but effectively, all West Ham need to do is catch up with Sheffield United (I don’t see Wigan going down this year). That means 6 more points than the Blades in 15 games.
Surely West Ham are one signing away from making that happen. Dong on loan to West Ham, anyone?