COMMENT by Dominic Toner
West Ham completed a double signing on Monday and both players could make huge impacts at the club.
The Hammers’ joint chairman David Gold revealed that Andre Ayew has joined from Swansea and he is expected to smash the club’s record transfer fee, which was previously held by the £15million signing of Andy Carroll.
West Ham captured their first signing Monday morning as left-back Arthur Masuaku joined from Olympiacos for £6.2million.
Slaven Bilic has recruited two exciting prospects to his side and both are expected to grab themselves a place in the first team, with their season opener against Chelsea on 15 August providing the fans a potential first glimpse.
Bilic is expected to stay loyal to many of the players who impressed during last season and earned the Hammers an eight-placed finish in the league, securing Europa League qualifiers in the process.
Record signing Ayew will certainly be given the chance to prove his worth and the attacker scored 12 goals for Swansea last season in all competitions.
Defender Masuaku has been bought in as a replacement for Aaron Cresswell, who could be sidelined for up to fourth months after picking up a knee injury in pre-season.
With the new signing expected to play a major role for West Ham this is potentially the best side that Slaven Bilic could field in the coming months.
The goalkeeping position is set to be up for grabs as Adrian and Darren Randolph contest to be the number one, but the Spaniard is expected to just edge the battle after being Bilic’s preferred choice for most of last season.
West Ham will be expected to line up with this back four during the campaign, although new boy Masuaku will face very strong completion from Cresswell over the left-back position when he returns from injury.
The addition of Masuaku will also allow youngster Sam Byram to switch back to his favoured position and replace make-shift Michail Antonio at right-back.
The solid pairing of Cheikhou Kouyate and skipper Mark Noble should sit in front of the defence, whilst talisman Dimitri Payet is likely to be the first name on the team sheet after his phenomenal first season with the club.
Manuel Lanzini could just get the nod over adventurous Antonio as a part of a three-man attacking set-up, although the Argentinian will miss the first three weeks of the season through injury.
That leaves new signing Ayew to fill in behind the frontman Andy Carroll and the pair could prove quite a handful if they form a partnership.
Carroll has been impressive during the pre-season with several goals and the target man has scored 23 goals in his 94 appearances in all competitions.
New recruits from the summer Havard Nordtveit and Sofiane Feghouli will be hoping to force their way into Bilic’s first-team, plus the emerging Reece Oxford could play a big part this year.
With such a strong side Bilic will be hoping that West Ham can achieve both domestic and European success this season.
In other West Ham team news, a key player has made a bold claim about where the club can finish this season.