Season shape-up - West Ham
Tony Curtis looks at whether West Ham need to cash in on Anton Ferdinand to bolster their squad
Last Updated: 02/07/08 7:27am
Having claimed their fair share of transfer headlines last season, things have been eerily quiet at West Ham this year. In the latest part of our Shaping up for the Season series, Tony Curts looks at whether the Irons can keep hold of Anton Ferdinand or if they need to cash in to bolster their squad.
What's happened so far
Last season, you couldn't keep the Hammers out of the headlines. The long drawn-out transfers of Carlos Tevez, Marlon Harewood and Yossi Benayoun kept them in the spotlight, while the departure of the trio was offset by the arrivals of Craig Bellamy, Freddie Ljungberg, Scott Parker and Keiron Dyer.
This time around, though, West Ham have been largely subdued with their transfer activity. The credit crunch has not helped the club, particularly with chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson tightening the purse strings following the big spending of former chief Eggert Magnússon.
The new owners have charged director of football Gianluca Nani with scouring Europe for young talent in a bid to pick up a bargain or two, with highly-rated HK midfielder Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson apparently catching the eye.
Manager Alan Curbishley, though, is determined to bring in a big-name striker to bolster a frontline that returned just 42 goals in 38 Premiership matches last season.
Andy Johnson and Kevin Doyle are believed to be at the top of Curbishley's shopping list, while Eidur Gudjohnsen's desire to return to London could work in West Ham's favour.
However, to free up funds for a serious assault on the transfer market, Curbishley may have to part with one of his most prized assets - with Spurs and Aston Villa both linked to a £10m-plus move for Anton Ferdinand.
Fellow defender Danny Gabbidon is also attracting interest from Stoke, while West Ham may decide to cash in on Ljungberg - with Roma keen to sign the Swede.
The pressure is also on Curbishley to turn the club around - with former player and Croatia manager Slaven Bilic already being linked to a return to Upton Park.
What they need
Forwards, forwards and more forwards... The Hammers struggled to find the net last season, although injuries to Dean Ashton and Craig Bellamy did not help.
Barcelona striker Gudjohnsen would be a welcome addition, especially if he can rediscover the scoring form that made him a hit across the capital at Chelsea.
However, cash remains the key to Curbishley's hopes of adding the required firepower - and should the Hammers decide to cash in on Ferdinand and Gabbidon, then they may also decide to bolster their options at the back.
What they'll get
Eyjolfsson seems most likely to sign on the dotted line at Upton Park having impressed during a week-long trial, while Nani's bargain-spotting skills will be tested.
Reading's relegation from the top-flight means that Kevin Doyle - as well as James Harper - could be tempted to switch to Upton Park.
Ferdinand, though, is likely to leave - with his behaviour off the field doing little to endear him to the West Ham faithful. Add in the fact that £10m would bolster the transfer kitty, then expect Ferdinand to be shown the exit.
And should West Ham fail to get off to a good start, then a new manager by Christmas!
Fan's view - Rob Elliott
I think West Ham have an outside chance of Europe this season if - and it's a big if - they can keep their squad fit.
Outside of the first 11, too many of the squad are not Premier League quality and we will suffer should too many go down with injuries.
Tenth was respectable last year given the problems we had but we won't push on unless Alan Curbishley makes some signings. Our squad may be large but quantity gets you nowhere; we need depth in more or less every position.
We desperately need more choice up front. I'm so sick of negative one up front football - you need to be world class in the Premier League to do that job well and none of the current squad have the talent to manage it. If we have more strikers we might have two fit at the same time and can play 4-4-2!
In terms of who should be shown the door, time is up for Luis Boa Morte, Carlton Cole and Lucas Neill. If we are too improve we must make sure we keep our important players such as Matthew Upson, Rob Green and Dean Ashton. Don't sell the youth either - how many former Hammers have gone on to better things? We need to stop feeding the bigger clubs!
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