Delay to striker purchase could come back to haunt West ham

West Ham fans may be starting to get twitchy now, as the club’s board continue to delay on signing a striker the side desperately need.

Diafra Sakho and Mauro Zarate are capable of leading the line but with Enner Valencia crocked, Andy Carroll a knock away from six months on the treatment table, and Modibo Maiga clearly not cut out for the Premier League, reinforcements in the attacking ranks can’t come soon enough for Irons followers.

But as the days tick down until the closure of the transfer window, the names continue to be linked to a move to Upton Park, before talk goes quiet.

Charlie Austin and Javier Hernandez were both reported to be major targets for Slaven Bilic, and while they haven’t moved elsewhere of yet, the chances of them moving to east London look to have cooled.

Whispers of Mario Balotelli and Ezequiel Lavezzi have also been reported in the press, and while there is a fortnight left to go for any deals, many Boleyn fans are pessimistic of their chances of bringing either to the capital.

Co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan seem to have developed a reputation of being cheap-skates when it comes to transfer dealings, so whether the aforementioned targets have simply been too expensive for them remains to be seen.

The latest names to enter the fray are Burak Yilmaz and Brentford’s Andre Gray, two very different types of proposals.

The former will be all too familiar to ex-Besiktas boss Slaven Bilic, having netted 57 goals in 91 league appearances for Turkish rivals Galatasaray, whileGray continues to impress in the Championship.

The current West Ham manager has expressed his adulation for the Turkey international, but stated that a bid is not on the table, and potentially never likely to be:

“Burak is both one of Galatasaray and Turkey’s most important strikers. He is among the players I like. But as of right now Burak is not on my agenda,” he said.

A list of 12 players is said to have been drawn up for the club to attract to fill the striking void, but as the links come and go, how many more avenues are there to be explored?

Some conspiracy theorist around certain West Ham message boards remain adamant that the owners are reliant on Andy Carroll staying off the treatment table, and would rather not spend any more money on strikers.

With a fully fit squad, the Hammers probably do have enough to cope, but with injuries to key players in one position they look stretched.

If the board continue to employ delay tactics in the transfer market, the Hammers could miss out on their targets or be left with a sub-standard alternative, something that could hurt them if Carroll and/or Sakho face time on the sidelines.

It’s not quite panic stations yet, but much of the Hammers fanbase will be anxious about heading deep into the season with substantial options at the spearhead of the attack.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.