The best start in West Ham history is due to the eye of the team's scouting, new technical director Tim Steidten and manager David Moyes saying yes. Yes indeed there was something special about Lucas Paqueta and Jarrod Bowen but it was magnified when Mohammed Kudos arrived in East London. For the first time in a long time there are three elite players forming a chemistry that can potentially take West Ham to the Champions League and beyond if they can stay healthy.
One of West Ham's biggest concerns coming into the season was not upgrading at the number nine position. By default the first few matches went to Michail Antonio until an injury made Bowen's move to center forward a permanent one. Granted Bowen has scored more goals this season from his natural right wing side, but no one has a problem watching him in the middle still getting chances. Furthermore Kudus gets to play on the right where he's comfortable and he's shown the world he's quickly become one of the best attacking midfielders.
Kudos was already an emerging star coming out of Ajax. At just the age of 23, West Ham somehow beat out a race for his serivices that was led by Chelsea. A decision I'm sure he does not regret as of yet seeing how their season has been dismantled. Moyes worked him in slowly but by the third league match he was ready to be shot out of a cannon, having scored coming off the bench in the previous two games. Kudos adapted quickly and elevated his game and skills when it was time. He went from dominating a third teir football league to competing at the highest level. Part of his ability to do that is because of the elite play of Paqueta and Bowen.
It's clear West Ham have found something special. Before the season started Paqueta was almost on his way to Manchester City. Thanks to a scandal and how it all was mishandled by the league and Manchester City, West Ham got a chance to keep him. Bowen then signs his new contract show some kind of commitment and at least for 2023-24 they all knew they'd be playing together. So they locked in and not only scored 28 goals together but they elevated the play of others.
Emerson Palmieri is having the best season of his life right now (how the Italian national team hasn't figured out he's their best option at left back is mind boggling) and has added to a newly found counter attack. Thomas Soucek is attacking the box with the same confidence of three years ago before Declan Rice told him he wanted to be the center midfielder to do that. When you have three players carrying the squad it can go either way. Maybe they realize how special this is and have an agreement amongst each other to stay or West Ham lose all three this summer to Manchester City, Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.
There have been no whispers of a top 4 in the world team like Man City, Juventus, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich coming for Kudos. As long as you don't hear that it feels like this ownership group can sustain an all out attack from Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool, mostly in the Premier League. Steidten gave Kudos his word. This project would look a lot different in next two years than where they stand right now. Now if that is true that means they would have kept Paqueta, Bowen and even Emerson from this January window until summer of 2025.
With Paqueta still under investigation and the way Man City fumbled their pursuit of him, he will remain with West Ham at least another season. Unless, Real Madrid comes calling. Bowen signing a new contract means he wont leave this summer but maybe give the team another year to make a run at champions league which is where all three players want to be. If they can achieve it with West Ham you better believe that not only would they recommit, but they'll be part of recruiting big stars to the squad. In a year everyone will want to play with Kudus, Bowen and Paqueta. Their elite status coupled with their truly unselfishness around the ball is attractive to any star who wants to come in and thrive.
Moyes and Stiedten have already started the purge in transfer window. Gone already are players who were just taking up space in Thilo Kehrer and Conor Coventry. Next to go are Said Benrahma who can't seem to find his form. Say goodbye to Pablo Fornals who despite his unquestionable loyalty to this club doesn't really have a role or fits into a position in Moyes' system. Maxwell Cornet and Aaron Cresswell will be gone too.
Steidten and Moyes have to be extremely careful of who they bring in next. The most important factor is that each player that comes in has room to grow and adapt to play with the elite three. There's been rumors about Wilfried Gnonto from Leeds, Jack Clarke from Sunderland, Jonathan Rowe from Norwich City, Max Kilman from Wolverhampton and Santiago Gimenez from Feyenoord. These players are have all one thing in common as they are young and yet to enter their primes. Perfect depth players to build with and adapt to the elite three. If West Ham can secure 2 or 3 of these players plus add someone like Kalvin Phillips from Manchester City on loan that will be enough of a commitment from ownership to show the elite three they mean to put the team in the best situation possible.
Come summer 2024 they would need to sure up the starting positions and continuing to build depth. But in order to keep the elite three, Steidten and Moyes will need to show they can effortless attract another star player to the squad who actually wants to be in East London to play with the elite three. Once they can accomplish that they convince Bowen, Paqueta and Kudus that they don't need to go anywhere else and that big players want to come join this project because of Kudos.
It doesn't one hundred percent guarantee West Ham can stave off an attack from Real Madrid or Juventus, but at the very least their best foot forward means they are creating a team in their identity. And what players wouldn't want that. On those other teams they are always going to play second fiddle to someone like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Rodrygo or Erling Haaland.
There's two weeks to go in the January window. This isn't like the past where West Ham is linked to everyone and then nothing happens. What we've learned over the past couple of years is they now say nothing and hope to sign someone under everyone's radar. Similarly to what a lot of the top teams do. By January 31st we'll learn if West Ham can compete with those teams.