West Ham are on brink of Europe but failure to land striker in January transfer window undermines Moyes' great work

GIVEN the season West Ham are having it seems strange to be moaning.

Fifth in the league and enjoying our best start to a Premier League campaign since 2015-16 and the best start to a calendar year in our 125-year history.

So you could forgive us West Ham fans for having hopes of seeing our beloved Hammers competing in Europe next season.

It’s just a real shame the board don't seem to share our ambition.

After Sebastien Haller was sold to Ajax for £20million on January 8, we assumed David Moyes would seek a replacement who better fits his style of play and long term plan.

But as the month rumbled on, it became very clear we'd be pinning our European dreams on Michail Antonio – West Ham's ONLY recognised striker – and his incredibly unreliable hamstrings.

The way this season has played out – and with everything going on in the world – this might just be West Ham’s best chance in years to disrupt the top six.

So it’s criminal we’re now heading into the final three-and-a-half months of the campaign with Antonio as our only striker.

And substitute winger Andriy Yarmolenko, who West Ham have reportedly been trying to flog for the best part of a year, as his only backup.

The fans love Antonio and he is so effective but he is simply incapable of staying fit for long periods.

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Moyes approached the January window by carefully expressing his desire to sign a striker.

On January 10 he referred to last year's successful mid-season window when the club landed first team stars Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen.

Moyes said: "We want to try and continue in the same vein, getting players who come and make a difference and can help us.

"We had a really good transfer window in January last year and if we can have another one it will be great.

"I want to try and bring the right players in, I don't want to make mistakes that have maybe been made before.

"I am trying to do it as well as I can. If it means I don't get anyone in this window, so be it."

The days ticked by and still no one arrived.

And on January 21 the Scot said: "I've got to say that the board have backed me great since I've been here. I've had anything I've really asked for.

“I also know that I am not someone who is going to go and ask for money in a period of time in football where wages couldn't be paid and the NHS is struggling.

Do I want a top striker? I certainly do.

“We see so many difficulties outside of football.

“Do I want a top striker? I certainly do. I really do to help us.

“But I'm also mindful that football clubs, a lot are on the verge of going bust and I've got to make sure I do things correctly.”

So sure enough, 11pm came and went on February 1 as the window slammed shut with no strikers signed and West Ham fans braced themselves for what feels like the inevitable.

If you really try, one can see why Moyes might be cautious when it comes to panic buying a forward.

After all, he’s been bitten before at West Ham with Jordan Hugill arriving on Deadline Day in January 2018.

He made just three appearances before being shipped out on loan and was
eventually sold.

But it’s still so disappointing that we weren’t able to secure a single striker on a short-term deal or a loan at the very least.

Josh King – who West Ham's rivals for Europe Everton signed – or free agent Diego Costa spring to mind.

Anyone really just so our season doesn’t crumble along with Antonio’s delicate hammys.

Moyes and the current squad are doing an incredible job and the fans couldn’t be happier with their efforts.

But the board need to start showing the same kind of ambition Moyes, the players and the fans have.

But they didn't in January and there is a now a real possibility this season will go down as yet another failed attempt at taking us to the next level – a promise made to Hammers fans when we moved from Upton Park to London Stadium almost five years ago.

Publicly, Moyes started the month declaring he wanted a striker and has ended it by claiming he is happy with his lot.

In the face of widespread fan frustration, he explained on Tuesday: "We had money to spend.

"We sold Seb earlier in the window so we had that, but we are trying to do things differently at West Ham and we're not going to follow the same path we have been following before.

"I chose to keep my money and hopefully we can start another rebuild come the summertime."


It might be different on the pitch this season, but off it it’s just same ol’ West Ham.

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