A valiant performance away to Manchester City and a superb 1-0 win over champions Chelsea has lifted spirits inside the London Stadium, giving West Ham’s season a slightly brighter complexion under new boss David Moyes.
But there is still a long way to go before the Hammers can consider themselves out of the woods. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Moyes will need to spend wisely in order to rescue the hapless Hammers from the drop.
West Ham co-ownder David Sullivan has promised two or three arrivals in the mid-season window, and here are five players we think they should target.
Jack Wilshere – Arsenal
As he continues to work his way back to full fitness, Jack Wilshere is finding his path to regular first-team action at Arsenal blocked by the developing relationship between first-choice midfield pairing Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey.
If the 25-year-old midfielder has hopes of breaking into England 23-man squad for next summer’s World Cup, he will need to prove his form and fitness with regular top-flight football – something he may not be able to attain at the Emirates.
West Ham could certainly use a player of Wilshere’s undoubted technical quality, lacking control and creativity in the central midfield areas as they are.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Arsenal might be willing to cash in on the Three Lions playmaker for a fee below market value, rather than lose him for nothing in the summer.
Simone Verdi – Bologna
Since Dimitri Payet‘s acrimonious departure from East London, the Hammers have been bereft of creativity in the final third. Bologna’s versatile attacking midfielder Simone Verdi could remedy that issue.
The 25-year-old Italian is is capable of playing on either flank, centrally as a No.10, or even further forward as a secondary striker. Having Verdi scheming in behind Mexican poacher Javier Hernández would allow the former Manchester United striker to thrive at West Ham.
This season, Verdi has more assists (four) than any Hammers player, and has scored as many goals as ‘Chicharito‘ (four). What’s more, he is genuinely two-footed. So much so that he became the first player in Serie A history to score a free kick with each foot in the same game earlier this season.
A move for Verdi might prove a little over-ambitious, however, as he is a reported target for Serie A giants Inter Milan.
Theo Walcott – Arsenal
The former Southampton winger has featured in just 37 minutes of Premier League action this term, finding most of his playing opportunities in the Europa league.
Walcott, now 28, may not have developed as much as hoped in his career, but he still possesses key assets that would improve most sides, West Ham especially: experience, pace and precise finishing.
The Hammers need goals and, whether as a winger or a striker, Walcott could provide them.
Kevin Mirallas – Everton
Similar to Walcott, Everton’s Kevin Mirallas is a versatile wide man in need of a change of scenery. The Belgian will also hold out hope of making it into Belgium’s talent-packed World Cup squad next year, and a more prominent role at club level will do his chances no harm.
Mirallas is a player well-known to new West Ham boss Moyes, too. The former Manchester United and Sunderland manager signed the now-30-year-old for the Toffees during his last summer in charge at Goodison Park in 2012.
Able to play on either wing or as a centre-forward, Mirallas has tremendous pace and knows where the goal is. With just two Premier League starts under his belt this season, he clearly doesn’t feature prominently in Everton’s plans and could therefore be picked up for a reasonable price.
Mark Uth – Hoffenheim
With Hernández often cutting an isolated figure up front, West Ham should be looking to sign a striker who would be able to play alongside the Mexican in a two-pronged attack, with attributes that compliment the diminutive goal-getter, as well as being able to lead the line alone when necessary.
For that, Hoffenheim’s Mark Uth would be the perfect option. The German striker is enjoying the best form of his career this season – six goals in 11 Bundesliga games – and could soon be in line for a senior debut for Germany.
His international aspirations might, however, prevent the 26-year-old from wanting to leave the Bundesliga mid-season, especially as the Rhein-Neckar-Arena currently offers European football.
But Hoffenheim’s form has dipped of late, so perhaps there is an opening for suitors to turn his head.
Uth is a hard-working, fast and dynamic striker, able to link play effectively and shoot powerfully and accurately across all ranges with either foot. He wouldn’t come cheap, but the Hoffenheim man would be a real coup for West Ham if signed.