West Ham United face a season of reckoning. The Hammers managed to survive the threat of relegation in the 2017/18 campaign and ended up finishing in the 13th spot in the Premier League. But they need to improve next season if they are to avoid facing more backlash from the club’s supporters.
As a response to the situation, the club have brought in former Premier League title-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini to steady the ship and take West Ham back into the top-half of the table, and maybe even mount a challenge for a European spot next season.
And while bringing in an accomplished and experienced campaigner as Pellegrini is a step in the right direction indeed, the Hammers will also need to look at strengthening their squad in the summer.
One of the main areas which the east London outfit should be looking to reinforce over the course of the transfer window is the attacking department.
For years now, the Hammers have put their faith in English striker Andy Carroll to deliver the goods up front. But time and again the former Liverpool and Newcastle United man has failed to step up and has spent more time out on the sidelines than out on the field.
The arrival of Javier Hernandez last summer was met with great expectations, but the Mexican too struggled to live up to the hype and ended up having an average season for West Ham.
The matters only get complicated by the concerns over the future of star man Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian went on to win the club’s Player of the Season award in his debut campaign after joining from Stoke City in a club-record transfer last summer. But is understood that Manchester United are interested in signing him in the summer, thereby casting his future at the London Stadium in doubt.
In addition, the Hammers’ creator-in-chief Manuel Lanzini recently suffered a knee injury while on international duty with Argentina. He will miss the World Cup and is likely to remain sidelined for a long time. As a result, West Ham will need to bring in at least one attacking reinforcement before the season starts.
And the Hammers should definitely consider making a move for Bristol City’s Bobby Reid. The 25-year-old has been on the radar of several Premier League clubs, including the likes of Bournemouth and Brighton. Recently relegated outfit West Bromwich Albion are also interested in him, and West Ham too should explore the possibility of signing the attacker from the Robins this summer.
Reid came through the youth ranks at Bristol City and had loan spells away at Cheltenham Town, Oldham Athletic and Plymouth Argyle before establishing himself as a regular for the Robins’ first team.
Under manager Lee Johnson, Reid enjoyed the best season of his career last term as he netted 19 times and set up 7 more in 46 Championship appearances, thereby finishing as the division’s third-highest goalscorer. He also scored two goals and laid on a solitary assist in six League Cup encounters as the Robins reached the semi-finals of the competition.
Capable of playing as a centre-forward or in the hole behind the main striker, Reid is an extremely versatile footballer.
The English attacker is pacey, a good dribbler and possesses a creative edge to his game which allows him to drop into the spaces between the lines and link the midfield with the attack effectively. Reid’s blistering speed and ability to run past defenders makes him an effective outlet in a counter-attacking system and his work-rate without possession is another valuable asset in his repertoire.
The fact that several Premier League teams are looking at the prospect of signing him should indicate that he seems to be ready to make the step up to the next level. And his ability to fill in as a striker or as an attacking midfielder will provide West Ham manager Pellegrini with added options up front next season. Hence, the Hammers should take a gamble and make a move for Reid in the summer.