By Dominic Toner
Slaven Bilic believes that his new summer acquisitions have improved his squad ready for a dual assault on the Premier League and Europe next season.
West Ham have added forward Ashley Fletcher as well as midfielders Havard Nordtveit, Gokhan Tore and Sofiane Feghouli to their group. They have also secured Manuel Lanzini on a permanent basis after he impressed during a loan spell last season.
“We have been in pre-season for four or five weeks now and it has gone well,” Bilic told West Ham’s website.
“The lads have trained really hard and in a quality way so we’re happy with that. The new players are also starting to gel with the team… They have made a really good impression.”
Bilic enjoyed a good first managerial season last year at West Ham and secured a seventh-placed league finish, meaning they will enter the third round of Europa League qualifiers.
They face NK Domzale in the first-leg of the qualifier on Thursday and will be hoping to seal a place in the group stages alongside Premier League duo Southampton and Manchester United.
Some of West Ham’s newest additions are in line to feature in the tie and will be hoping they can grab themselves a spot in the permanent starting 11 ahead of the league season.
“…Some of them will start, definitely. If you are talking about Feghouli, if you are talking about Nordtveit, they started when we started because they didn’t have international football this summer. They are really quality players and they are what we expected from them.
“Of course they are going to get better and better, but already it is obvious that they are going to improve our squad and make a huge impact on the quality of our game. We wanted to buy quality players and I’m sure that we’ve got them.”
The Londoners enjoyed such a fine domestic campaign last season because of their competitive squad, led by star man Dimitri Payet who was a revelation in his first season of English football.
He joined West Ham from Marseille last summer for around £12.5million and was integral to the Hammers’ sensational season, scoring 12 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions.
In the latest West Ham team news, Harry Redknapp believes that the club can reach the top four with leader Payet.