Now What? West Ham Must Address Sticky Striker Situation

David Moyes, West Ham. (Photo by CATHERINE IVILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
David Moyes, West Ham. (Photo by CATHERINE IVILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

With the sale of Sebastien Haller this month, David Sullivan has put West Ham in a tough situation. The club must now address the striker position.

West Ham have sold club-record signing Sebastien Haller to Ajax for £20, leaving the club with only one proven Premier League striker. David Sullivan has once again put the Hammers in a sticky situation as the club is one Michail Antonio injury away from having no healthy strikers with Premier League experience in the squad.

While I certainly will not defend Haller’s performances, he was a decent backup option and fared much better than many past West Ham striker signings. Furthermore, selling Haller for less than half of what we paid for him during the January window is awful business from Sullivan.

Whether you felt it was the right move for the club or not, Sebastien Haller is gone. The question becomes: Now what? Here are three things West Ham must do in January:

Do Not Sign Marko Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic, Ex-West Ham.
Marko Arnautovic, Ex-West Ham. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images) /

While David Moyes worked wonders with Marko Arnautovic in 2018, the board will most likely not entertain that offer. Nonetheless, it must be said: West Ham should not sign Marko Arnautovic.

The first reason is due to his wages and age. How many times have West Ham simply been the last stop for a big payday for ageing players? Why would we want to continue that trend, especially for a player that forced a move away?

While Arnautovic has fared well in the Chinese Super League, who knows if the 31-year-old will have what it takes to return to the physicality of the Premier League and reach his old heights?

On top of all that, one must consider if Arnautovic would walk straight into the starting XI. I do not believe he would come back to East London to sit on the bench, which would also be a waste of money. If he did start, it would be massive disrespect to Michail Antonio.

Moyes could play Arnautovic and Antonio up top together but I think that may actually take away each of their strengths as strikers – both need to be in line with the ball in order to hold up and receive it to be the most successful.

Sign Striker with English Football Experience

West Ham should target Adam Armstong.
West Ham should target Adam Armstong. (Photo by Rachel Holborn – BRFC/Getty Images) /

Arnautovic or not, David Sullivan must sign a striker this month. This striker ideally will be of a suitable age, ideally younger than 30-year-old Antonio. This striker should also have some English football experience, ideally in the Premier League. Finally, the signing should also be a permanent one.

West Ham need to begin strengthening their attack with the next few years in mind, especially with an injury-prone player being the club’s only striker as of now.

A few names come to mind when thinking of this type of player. Adam Armstong is one of the most exciting players in the Championship. The Englishman is having the best season of his young career, scoring 16 goals for Blackburn Rovers so far this season.

Rovers, who currently are only five points from a playoff spot, will most certainly demand a high transfer fee as Armstrong is only 23-years-old with 18 months left on his deal.

Another Championship player that is not getting talked enough about is Lucas João from Reading. While João hasn’t scored as much as Armstrong (0.52xG/90), João’s natural role is as a solo centre-forward.

West Ham could target Lucas João.
West Ham could target Lucas João. (Photo by John Early/Getty Images) /

Reading are actually in a playoff spot and João has 30 months left on his current deal, making any potential signing highly unlikely. While I think João would be a good fit, signing Armstrong would be more feasible and the more exciting signing.

But do not forget Josh King. The Norwegian striker is out of favour at Bournemouth and has been linked to West Ham for quite some time. While many do not believe King is the answer, he may be our best option. Moyes fancies him and he has had success in the Premier League.

It will be important for West Ham to not overpay for him nor give him too long of a deal as the striker is 28-years-old. But King could be a good backup and complementary piece to Antonio up top while serving as a bridge between the present and the future.

Develop Future Talent

Speaking of the future now is the time to develop our time Academy striker, Mipo Odubeko. The 18-year-old has been training with the first-team as of late and could even make a surprise debut in the FA Cup in a few days time.

For far too long, West Ham have lost sight of their once great Academy. The Hammers have had a tradition of building of homegrown players through the system and seeing them blossom into great players at the professional level, usually for other teams.

Next. Haller Interview Leaves Sour Taste For West Ham. dark

Odubeko is considered by many to be the best striker within the Academy. While not ready for Premier League football 100% of the time, Moyes certainly must have an eye on the future and the best way to develop that future is by playing games at the highest level. A few appearances in the FA Cup and Premier League may just serve as that development training.