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Insight: Who should West Ham sign?

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Last Updated: 17/05/19 6:56am

West Ham spent close to £100m in the transfer market last summer - but could be primed to invest heavily again to back boss Manuel Pellegrini, after the Chilean steered his injury-hit squad to a 10th-place finish in the Premier League.

Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Fabian Balbuena, Carlos Sanchez, Issa Diop and Lukasz Fabianski were among the 11 recruits last year, along with free transfer Jack Wilshere, before Samir Nasri joined in January.

So who could come in to strengthen Pellegrini's group this time around? And who could be heading for the exit door? Read on to find out…

The pundit's verdict

Alan Smith: "They signed a lot of players last summer and have a lot of attackers. Felipe Anderson did well in his first season and they have Yarmolenko, who missed a lot of the season with injury, and then Manuel Lanzini has just come back too.

"They haven't been able to call on Andy Carroll much but it looks like he is going, so will they look at a striker? They have got people around that position like Anderson, Yarmolenko and Michail Antonio. They have been linked with Salomon Rondon.

"They have a decent defence and I think Ryan Fredericks will do better in his second season.

"I don't think they will be making too many signings as they made so many last summer and they will be hoping some of those players kick on in their second season.

"There has been some speculation that Declan Rice could leave, which would be a real blow. He has been one of their success stories. It's been great to see him adapting to that role in midfield.

"They certainly wouldn't want to lose him as he has come through the ranks and he is a big fan favourite. Pellegrini and the board will be well aware of that."

What do the stats say?

West Ham may have finished 10th in the Premier League but they ranked lowly for a host of defensive stats.

While their total number of goals conceded was just 55 - the 11th best record in the division - that was in a large part down to the excellent form of Fabianski.

2:59 Highlights from West Ham's 4-1 win over Watford in the Premier League Highlights from West Ham's 4-1 win over Watford in the Premier League

Only Fulham and Huddersfield (five) kept fewer clean sheets than West Ham (seven), who allowed 528 shots at their goal, the fifth most by a Premier League team.

Another area of concern for Pellegrini will be that 14 teams attempted more shots than West Ham over the course of 2018/19, while there will also be an argument the squad needs to be refreshed with some younger legs. The average age of West Ham's average starting XI last season was 28 years and 10 days, the fourth oldest squad in the top flight.

The manager's view

Pellegrini on a busy summer ahead: "You cannot go on holiday without thinking and my way has always been to be in contact with the sporting director, talking about different players and about different options and which is the best to bring.

"As a manager, I think 80 per cent of the success you have in a season is in the work you do on your squad in this period of the year."

Pellegrini on Declan Rice's future: "In that case (of interest from teams) as always it's just a matter of price. Maybe the big teams decide to pay an important amount of money. If it's a good deal for the club and it's a good deal for the player and he improves with his career, they can do it."

Pellegrini on the importance of getting it right: "You must be calm and try to choose your best option because if you make a mistake in the squad in this season you are going to pay in the whole year. You can have just 17 foreign players, we must have eight English players, we will see which of them can go, which options we have to come."

What we know

Nick Lustig, Sky Sports News: "After a relatively successful first campaign back in England, Pellegrini has already set his sights on securing European football next season and is keen to bolster his attacking options this summer.

"Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez came close to joining the Hammers in January, with Pellegrini expected to revisit his interest in the Uruguayan. Gomez has a £43.2m release clause in his contract and would smash the club's current transfer record, which was broken last summer with the £35m arrival of Felipe Anderson.

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"Pellegrini also wants to add to his defensive options, with a centre-back and left-back on his wish list.

"West Ham will attempt to offload a number of fringe players in a bid to raise further funds for Pellegrini. They will listen to offers for Javier Hernandez, Lucas Perez, Pedro Obiang, Reece Oxford, Sam Byram, Jordan Hugill and Edimilson Fernandes."

Who have they been linked with?

Highly-rated Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez has been linked with the Hammers - but also the likes of Liverpool. He would certainly bring goals to the West Ham frontline, having scored 30 goals in 69 appearances in La Liga and, at the age of 22, is only likely to get better.

Alaves centre-back Guillermo Maripan is also reportedly on West Ham's radar, with AS reporting the London club could be lining up a move for the Chile international.

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