[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith the new Premier League season only a couple of weeks away, there is reason for optimism for West Ham United fans.
Although the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have been dominating the transfer window headlines, the London outfit have pulled off some ambitious acquisitions and have been quietly going about their business.
It is an era of change for the Hammers, with long-serving manager Sam Allardyce relinquishing the reins after doing a decent job – hope is that former player Slaven Bilić can take the club to the next level.
The Croatian trainer is a big personality and has a proven managerial track record at both club and national level, with his presence sure to have the squad looking to deliver.
With a move to the Olympic Stadium scheduled for next year, efforts to improve the team have clearly been made, with a number of exciting signings this summer.
The deal that catches the eye straight away is the capture of Dimitri Payet from Olympique de Marseille.
The France international is in his prime at 28 and has been consistently one of the best players in Ligue 1 for a number of seasons.
With Payet set to play a role for his country at next summer’s Euro 2016 competition, plenty of other top-level clubs will have had an eye on the former Lille star – as such West Ham winning the race must be seen as something of a coup.
The Frenchman gave an insight into his superb technical skills with a goal from a direct free-kick on his first friendly outing for West Ham recently and will be another attacking weapon for the London side next season.
Italy international Angelo Ogbonna has been snared from Juventus in a big-money deal, which will add an imposing presence at the heart of Bilić’s defence.
The former Torino centre-half struggled to break into the Bianconeri’s miserly rearguard with regularity and will be motivated to prove himself on this new challenge.
Quick across the ground, good in the air and a man that tolerates little nonsense, his partnership with Winston Reid at the back promises much.
The signing of highly-rated Spaniard Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria has potentially flown under the radar to some degree, but could well prove to be the Hammers’ best piece of summer business.
The 23-year-old has represented Spain at various youth levels and was an impressive performer for an overachieving Sampdoria last season.
An all-action midfielder, Obiang’s addition will be with plugging the gap left by Alex Song in mind, with the former Atlético Madrid youth player an ideal alternative.
West Ham fans will be happy to see Carl Jenkinson’s loan spell from Arsenal extended, while a number of exciting youngsters have also been added to the ranks.
Although Song has left the club and returned to Barcelona while Stewart Downing has been sold, if Bilić can keep the team’s best players such as Aaron Cresswell, Reid, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and others at the club, West Ham have the making of an excellent side.
Although the signings and manager will need time to adapt to their new surroundings, the Hammers should realistically be looking towards the top eight with hope this season, with an exciting new campaign ahead for the Boleyn Ground men.
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