West Ham United showed real signs in 2018-19 that with more consistency and one or two extra players, a challenge to the Premier League top six is not out of the question.
In Manuel Pellegrini the Hammers have an experienced and able manager, while some of the current Irons starting XI have what it takes to drive the club towards success.
However, with the summer transfer window here for another year, West Ham must strengthen key areas if they are to challenge English football’s best sides in 2019-20.
Different sportsbooks have wildly different expectations for the Hammers next season, according to My Top Sportsbooks.
They are as short as 33/1 to finish top four in the Premier League at certain sites, but as long as 66/1 at others.
As for the 2020 FA Cup, West Ham are firmly in the third tier of contenders, opening in the 27/1 to 35/1 range. That’s roughly level with Leicester, which makes sense given that the two teams finished with identical records last year.
In order to improve on their 10th-place finish, West Ham will need to replace Andy Carroll, Samir Nasri and Adrian – three 30-plus players with younger, improved talent from elsewhere in Europe.
The West Ham hierarchy broke the club’s transfer record last summer to land Felipe Anderson from Lazio and similar marquee signings are needed ahead of next term for the team to reach its potential.
Centre forward is a specific position of concern, with speculation over Marko Arnautovic’s future and the lack of a proven goalscorer in Pellegrini’s ranks.
While there will be other positions in the team that the Hammers faithful will hope the club strengthens, getting some of the current crop fit and firing is key over the summer.
Jack Wilshere was signed to be the side’s creative fulcrum, but consistent injuries limited the England international to a handful of games in 2018-19.
Meanwhile, defensive lynchpin Winston Reid and attacker Manuel Lanzini both missed large portions of last term due to debilitating injury layoffs.
The future is bright for West Ham and there is every reason to believe that 2019-20 can be a successful season, but expenditure in the transfer market is needed to turn this into a reality.