West Ham United head into the 2022/23 Premier League season full of confidence after back-to-back top seven finishes under David Moyes.
The Scot has transformed the club from relegation battlers to European contenders since returning to the dugout in January 2020, and is now looking ahead rather than over his shoulder as West Ham look to assemble a squad ready to compete on a regular basis.
The Hammers are a lot tougher to beat now under Moyes, owing to far better organisation, and stand a great chance of pushing the ‘big six’ once more if they get off to a solid start.
Here’s 90min’s preview of how West Ham’s campaign could pan out.
West Ham have finally addressed the elephant in the transfer room – signing striker Gianluca Scamacca, a player on the radar of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal, for a fee in excess of €40m.
His arrival should lighten the unbearable workload placed on Michail Antonio’s shoulders, while there’s also been incomings in defence and midfield.
Nayef Aguerd is a potentially great signing at centre-back, although he’s sidelined by injury already, and Flynn Downes adds depth to a midfield depleted by the retirement of Mark Noble and departure of loanee Alex Kral.
Alphonse Areola is also primed to take over from Lukasz Fabianski in goal, once Moyes feels the time is right, while West Ham have bid farewell to the likes of Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks and Sonny Perkins.
Numbers subject to change before end of transfer window
1) Lukasz Fabianski
2) Ben Johnson
3) Aaron Cresswell
4) Kurt Zouma
5) Vladimir Coufal
7) Gianluca Scamacca
8) Pablo Fornals
9) Michail Antonio
10) Manuel Lanzini
11) Nikola Vlasic
12) Flynn Downes
13) Alphonse Areola
15) Craig Dawson
20) Jarrod Bowen
21) Angelo Ogbonna
22) Said Benrahma
23) Issa Diop
27) Nayef Aguerd
28) Tomas Soucek
29) Goncalo Cardoso
34) Nathan Trott
35) Darren Randolph
41) Declan Rice (C)
45) Mipo Odubeko
50) Harrison Ashby
54) Conor Coventry
The standout player in West Ham’s squad remains world class midfielder Declan Rice, who every club around the world would probably want to sign if given the opportunity.
Rice offers so much to West Ham’s midfield, both in defence and in attack, and his consistency will be key if the Hammers are to enjoy success in every competition they are in. Jarrod Bowen pushes the West Ham skipper close, following a superb 2021/22 campaign that saw him break into the England team.
One to watch
There will be a lot of pressure put on the shoulders of Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca, who has been drafted in to provide some much needed competition for Michail Antonio.
A scorer of 16 goals in Serie A last season for Sassuolo, the 23-year-old is a towering, powerful presence up front, and knows he’ll have to get up to speed with the physical demands of the Premier League very quickly.
West Ham have added depth to their squad although pre-season results have not delivered what David Moyes and his coaching staff would have expected.
The Europa Conference League will provide a distraction and another congested fixture list, but this Hammers team thrived under the pressure of playing relentlessly in 2021/22.
Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen are still around, Michail Antonio has support up front in the shape of Gianluca Scamacca, and there’s a hope that Tomas Soucek will return to his best form after a good rest over the summer. The Hammers’ squad looks more competitive, with more signings likely before the August window closes.