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After an under-par start of last year’s Premier League and a strong showing to close it off, West Ham finished right in the middle of the table on the 10th spot. It was great news for Hammers’ fans, who are hoping that the club will build on it and possibly go higher up the table. Although West Ham won’t really win the title next season, the national cups are a possibility to compete for silverware. What fans really want, though, is European football.

Under Manuel Pellegrini, West Ham has flourished. Expectations were high before the start of last season, and although they weren’t fulfilled when it comes to a European summer, there’s a genuine belief that West Ham will return to Europe next season. Most bookies have West Ham right in the middle of the list of favourites for the Premier League, giving the Hammers odds of 500/1. That’s not exactly optimistic, but neither were Leicester City’s odds in their title-winning season. The good news is that the club is given pretty favourable odds to finish at a European spot next season. If you’re a Hammers fan and a punter at that, you can find an assortment of free bets over at Pick the right one and you could win a nice sum if West Ham finishes at one of the 5 European spots.

The Hammers don’t really have fond memories of their last outings in Europe. Seasons 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 saw them ousted from Europ League football. Both times, Astra Giurgiu was the Hammers’ hangman, narrowly defeating the English club in the third qualifying round. Fans are hoping that third time’s the charm for West Ham, but the club must first finish higher than last season in the Premier League.

Signings such as Pablo Fornals certainly indicate a move in the right direction. A Villareal midfielder who took La Liga by storm last year, Fornals was the first of many expected signings by the Hammers. It’s a quality addition to the squad which is also in the market for attackers after Marko Arnautovic’s departure. Hammers legends such as Tony Cottee has slammed the Austrian for the move – read more about it here: Firepower is definitely needed up front, as West Ham were struggling to score last year when they needed wins the most.

The list of options includes Celta ace Maxi Gomez. The Spanish forward has been linked to the Hammers for a while now, with the transfer reportedly close to completion. A strong forward with a killer goal instinct, Maxi Gomez score 9 goals from 19 appearances in La Liga last season. Not exactly Messi-like numbers, but it’ll do for now. Read more on Arnautovic’s replacement here:

Salomon Rondon is another name strongly linked to West Ham. A forward with experience in the Premier League (West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United), Rondon is a solid option for the Hammers’ often-faltering attack. West Ham is in the market for a striker or two, and Rondon and Maxi Gomez have been identified as the top transfer targets.

Of course, the club should offload some players before new arrivals. Reece Oxford, Pedro Obiang, and even Javier Hernandez are apparently on the chopping block. There’s significant interest in Obiang on the market, and Chicharito is sure to attract suitors as well. He’s a bit of a curious case – everyone at the club knows the Mexican’s qualities, yet he’s not been able to find his best form last season. If the club signs a striker or two in the next few weeks, Chicharito will need to try his luck elsewhere.

It’s clear that the board and Manuel Pellegrini are working hard to create a respectable team. With Pellegrini behind the wheel and a group of new players in, West Ham will be a few steps closer to the coveted spots that lead to Europe.