West Ham United have left themselves in a sticky situation heading into the back-end of the season, with five consecutive Premier League defeats leaving the Hammers just five points above the relegation zone.
A crucial clash with Swansea City awaits this weekend, where defeat would see their advantage cut to just two points, and West Ham need to be boosted significantly this summer to get their project back-on-track.
After finishing in the European spots last season, but exiting the Europa League in the qualifying stages, such a slow finish is a huge step backwards from the club and they’ve failed to make the London Stadium feel like home.
That will take time to achieve though and whilst many will declare the need for high profile signings this summer, West Ham’s priority now should be securing the futures of the stars already in their ranks.
The likes of Michail Antonio and Winston Reid have attracted interest from Premier League rivals, with the Hammers being in a sticky situation when it comes to fending off that interest. However, new contracts for the pair, and other key players, would provide a significant boost.
Securing the services of their key-players for the coming years gives West Ham a starting point to build a better side around, especially as losing them could hand them a huge blow ahead of the next season- especially as there’s already areas that need strengthening.
West Ham’s recruitment in recent years has also been far from brilliant, so setting up the squad to continue boasting their most important names and limiting the work that needs to be done on the transfer front is a wise move.
Make no mistake, signings will be made this summer and the Hammers will hope to capture the services of high-profile targets but they’ll be failing to make progression if new players arrive on the back of important squad members leaving.
If the Hammers get their future on track, they’re in a strong position to compete in the coming years and the fact they’ve already moved to their new stadium hands them an advantage when compared with the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool, all of whom are in the process of rejuvenating their famous stadiums.
Leapfrogging Tottenham is an achievable aim for the next few years, especially as the Lilywhites will be forced to play at Wembley next season, and the least the Hammers should be aiming for is going toe-to-toe with the likes of Everton for a Europa League spot.
All of their ambitions rest on the club’s ability to keep their most important players though and the loss of Dimitri Payet in January will still be a bitter pill to swallow- but the Hammers need to ensure they don’t have to experience the same situation again.