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Three Areas Of The Pitch That West Ham Must Strengthen This Summer

A £30m transfer budget is peanuts these days but it appears Director of Football Mario Husillos will have to be satisfied with limited funds this summer.

It, therefore, looks likely that a number of players will be sold in order for West Ham to bring in the types of signings they need before the beginning of next season.

So what areas of the pitch should Husillos and manager Manuel Pellegrini be concentrating on in order to strengthen the squad?

Left-Back

Although Arthur Masuaku’s form has improved immeasurably in recent weeks, neither the Congolese international nor Aaron Cresswell have convinced over the course of the season.

While Masuaku is prone to defensive lapses, Cresswell has found it difficult to stay fit for lengthy periods of time. Husillos will likely be keeping a close eye on potential alternatives in the transfer market.

Olympiakos’s Leonardo Koutris has been consistently linked with a switch to the London Stadium but it seems the club are not convinced he’d been a massive upgrade on what the Hammers already have.

Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt was also reported as a possible target back in September but the club should be seeking to focus on players who can offer more defensive solidity.

Centre-Back

Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena have both performed very well at times this season, but the lack of consistency at the back has certainly cost the Hammers.

The club conceded 55 goals in the Premier League this campaign, which is only the 12th best defensive record in the division. If the Irons are to improve on their tenth place finish, another centre-back is needed to strengthen a glaring weakness in the team.

Alaves’s Guillermo Maripan is reportedly the player that Husillos and the scouting team have identified after previously considering a move for him in the January transfer window.

Like with Balbuena, he is a relative unknown quantity on these shores but he could prove a bargain with a bid of just £9.5m reportedly enough to secure the Chilean’s services.

Guillermo Maripan

Forwards

With Marko Arnautovic the club’s top goalscorer on 11 this campaign, the forward line is an obvious area where improvements can be made over the summer months.

Andy Carroll will depart at the end of June when his contract expires while reports suggest the Hammers will listen to offers for Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez.

That being said a top quality striker won’t come cheap. It was hoped that Maxi Gomez, a target in January, would have his release clause halved if Celta Vigo were relegated this season. The Spanish club now look safe with Girona needing a significant goal difference swing on the final day to stay up.

With the Uruguayan’s release clause set at €50m (£43.4m), players will need to be offloaded first if they are to proceed with a bid for the striker. Another target, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic will also be a costly purchase with the Cottagers likely to demand at least the £27m they paid Newcastle for the striker last year.