Tony Cascarino clearly threw down a gauntlet in the direction of West Ham when suggesting they have a chance of breaking into the Premier League’s top-six in the upcoming season.
The pundit claimed that the Hammers, Wolves, Everton and Leicester City all looked like they were aiming to finish sixth in the upcoming campaign, but claimed it’s one thing saying they have top-six ambitions, it’s another thing fulfilling them.
However, Cascarino claimed that West Ham, Leicester City, Wolves and Everton were all very close to being good enough to break into the division’s top-six.
“West Ham we won’t see how good they are until they start their Premier League campaign, Leicester have already got there but can they keep Maguire?” said Cascarino on talkSPORT (9:43 am, Sunday, July 21st).
“Then you’ve got Everton who have done some very shrewd recruitment as well, then there’s Wolves, and them four clubs in themselves, look like they’re ready or trying to fight.
“Now it’s one thing saying it, it’s another thing doing it but they’re all very very close.”
Given that Cascarino suggested that the Hammers’ quality couldn’t be assessed until their league campaign got underway, dismissing their two losses to Premier League sides in pre-season, a challenge has surely been set for them.
West Ham finished lower than Wolves, Everton and Leicester City so clearly have the highest mountain to climb when it comes to sneaking into sixth.
The Hammers finished 14 points behind sixth-placed Manchester United in the 2018/19 season, but some of their high profile signings this summer will surely aid their quest to close the gap.
West Ham have welcomed four new players this summer: David Martin, Roberto, Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller with the latter two being the potential game-changers.
Fornals was involved in five goals across 35 league outings for Villareal last season and averaged an impressive 1.7 shots per game; which means his arrival could easily boost the Hammers’ creative threat in midfield. (Source: WhoScored)
As for Haller, the Frenchman looks like being capable of scoring the goals needed to bring success to London Stadium if he settles in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old scored 33 goals in 77 appearances during his two-year spell at previous club Eintracht Frankfurt and was directly involved in 24 goals for them in the league in his latest campaign.
The only striker in the Bundesliga who was involved in more goals than Haller was Robert Lewandowksi and he has long been seen as one of Europe’s elite forwards. (Source: Opta Joe)
So given those two players haven’t been in action for the Hammers during pre-season, then Cascarino is right to suggest the Hammers are an unknown quantity in the race for top-six, but the club must prove him right to namedrop them as having a chance.