For David Moyes, the last 18 months have been exceptional. His return to West Ham was seen as a bit of a damp squib, a club admitting that its project with Manuel Pellegrini was a failure. Returning to the more pedestrian Scot was seen by some fans as an admit of defeat when it comes to the Irons long-term ambitions. However, a spate of smart value signings like Tomas Soucek and Jarred Bowen has seen West Ham compete for the UEFA Champions League spots.
One place where the squad is still weak, though, is through the middle of the pitch. A lack of forward depth means that the likes of Jamaica forward Antonio can find himself limited when he is tiring or out of form. Thus, the arrival of a new striker has been a winter window priority. So far, though, Hammers fans have been frustrated with the lack of arrivals.
With the transfer window now into its final weekend, the hope is that a deal can be struck as soon as possible to find a player. With frustration on the global market – with a move for Flamengo striker Gabigol never truly getting off the ground – West Ham look set to move for a more domestic option. Two names are being linked at the moment, with Southampton striker Armando Broja – on loan from Chelsea – and Blackburn Rovers forward Ben Brereton-Diaz mentioned as the two primary targets for Moyes at this point in time.
Can West Ham capitalise on another flash in the pan forward?
When Bowen arrived, some worried that it was a player in the second tier enjoying their first real run of proper form in their career. The young winger, though, looks to have calmed any of those fears by enjoying two excellent seasons in claret and blue so far. His arrival ahs even seen him linked with the likes of Liverpool, and with an international call-up.
However, West Ham might find it hard to get lightning to strike twice. Broja is enjoying what is arguably his only real senior run of goalscoring form at Saints. Brereton-Diaz looks to have benefited hugely from his international recognition with Chile, but this still the first time in his career he has looked anything like prolific.
Indeed, his form with Rovers prior to this season looked more like a midfielder as opposed to a forward. Broja is a young player enjoying the freedom of expectation that can come with a loan, as well as the fact he is a young player whom defenders might not fully study. That will change with his recent run of form. Can West Ham be sure that the forwards being linked are finding another level to their game, or is this simply a case of a pair of young players enjoying a prolonged purple patch?
Since Moyes arrived, though, most signings have been positive gambles worth taking. Broja and Brereton-Diaz might fall into that category once again. Having tried and failed to sign the finished article in the past, the Hammers might be best sticking to the approach that has revived the club under Moyes.