Joe Hart and Javier Hernandez will give West Ham United a welcome boost at both ends of the pitch, says former Hammers favourite Shaka Hislop.
Now a successful Premier League pundit in the United States, Hislop keeps a close eye on West Ham from the other side at the Atlantic, and has been hugely impressed with the business the Club has done in the transfer market.
Speaking exclusively to whufc.com, the 2006 FA Cup finalist believes his former side can challenge for a place in the Premier League’s top seven or eight if their stars align next season.
“I’m looking forward to the season,” he began. “I cannot remember a transfer window when West Ham made so many quality signings so early in the window, signings that all make the team better.
“I was a little bit disappointed with last season but, with the teething issues around moving into the new stadium, it was understandable. However, I am delighted that the Club has stuck with Slaven Bilic and I am hoping he will be the manager of the team for a long time moving forward.
“This transfer window has been a significant step forward because the Board said they wanted to get quality in, and that’s exactly what they have done.”
“Of all the signings, I think Joe’s is the most important for us,” he observed. “I am biased in that regard but Joe ticks a number of boxes when it comes to signing a top-class goalkeeper.
“He has the carrot of a World Cup 12 months away and, being aware that there is a pack of young goalkeepers eager to take his number one jersey, I am sure he will produce the performances that ensure he is England’s first-choice at Russia 2018.
“His qualities are there for everybody to see. Manchester City fans recognise his leadership qualities, both on the pitch and in the dressing room, which you miss when things are not going well.
“Up front, Javier Hernandez is an instinctive finisher who will get you goals. He can be a streaky scorer but, when he is on form, he is almost impossible to stop.
“It’s going to be tough for West Ham to break into the Premier League’s top six, but if any clubs are going to surprise those above them, it will be either West Ham or Everton, for me.
“If things go well and the new signings slot in and the players avoid injuries, then I believe West Ham should be finishing in the top half and challenging for the top eight.”