COMMENT By Matt Farr
West Ham have been linked with a host of strikers ahead of the January transfer window, with manager Slaven Bilic admitting that his side need more firepower in attack.
The Hammers have spent much of the season without lead attacking duo Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, who have both been injured, with their replacements failing to live up to billing.
Jonathan Calleri has been unconvincing, while Simone Zaza has been so poor since his arrival from Juventus, that West Ham are planning on sending him back to Italy next month.
Ashley Fletcher, meanwhile, does not have that much Premier League or first-team experience, and there’s a lot riding on his shoulders.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi have both been tipped to make the switch to the Olympic Stadium, and Bilic will certainly consider his options.
However, Bilic made the decision in the summer to let Ecuador forward Enner Valencia leave the club on loan, and that may have been the wrong decision.
In Bilic’s defence, he didn’t know how poor their first-half of the season would be, and he didn’t know how bad his strikers were going to be in front of goal, but Valencia could have provided the Hammers with exactly what they are missing at the moment.
The 27-year-old has not scored since his arrival at Everton, but his performances have been very good regardless. He is working hard to earn a regular place in the first-team after a slow start, and despite his lack of goals, is keen to push on to help Everton’s cause.
Valencia is prolific at international level with 19 goals in 34 appearances, but has not really been able to translate it to the club-stage. He is clearly capable, and had he been at West Ham at the start of the season, would have had a better opportunity to really knuckle down and perform.
The Hammers are 15th in the Premier League at the moment with just four wins from 16 games, and at a time when West Ham need every player to give 100%, Valencia’s hard-work and desire is sorely missed.
In other West Ham news, Andy Carroll has given his verdict on the club’s relegation battle.