After a tough couple of weeks, it has now sunk in that next season West Ham United will be playing Championship football for the first time in seven years. It's painful, but all we can do now as fans is look forward. Once the deadwood is cleared out, we will need to splash some cash and bring in players that will take us back up where we belong.
The six players in this slideshow article are ones who I believe will strengthen our side and make us real contenders to bounce back up to top tier football.
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The Burnley winger is valued at around £3 million, however if you look at his performances in both the Premiership last season and the Championship this year, he would be a fantastic addition to the West Ham ranks. He possesses a great eye for the perfect pass, and in my opinion, is very similar in many ways to ex-Hammer Matthew Etherington. He is accomplished in the Championship and is the perfect way to resolve our problems on the wings.
The fact he has also netted 11 goals in 43 games for Burnley this year, coming from the wing, shouts out that he is a class act, and someone who should be near the top end of the West Ham transfer targets in the Summer.
Bullard is right from the top draw of midfielders, and only two seasons ago people around the country were calling for an England call-up. A late loan switch to Ipswich this season proved to be a huge success with Bullard regaining his fitness and netting five goals in 16 appearances for the Tractor Boys. There is no doubt that he is a class act when on the field, but the only question mark is his horrid history for injury. Something West Ham have been renowned for doing this season is buying injury-prone players. Someone that instantly pops to mind is Kieron Dyer, so do we really want to take that risk again?
Jimmy Bullard most certainly isn't another Kieron Dyer. For starters, when Bullard plays, he is a king on the pitch, whereas Dyer has never made an impact in the claret and blue shirt. Secondly, Bullard is happy to take a pay cut for first team football, while Dyer seems more concerned with his huge paycheck than he does clocking up minutes on the pitch.
Next on the list is an ex-Hammer himself, Freddie Kanoute. Now, in my opinion Freddy was a fantastic player when he wore the claret and blue. He was brilliant at running lines and had good finishing. Maybe I'm being a bit naive, but who can blame me with our strikers at the moment (Carlton Cole, for instance)?
He may be getting older, but his goalscoring record for Sevilla is prolific, averaging a goal every two games, which in a league as tough as the Liga BBVA, is very accomplished. His contract is up at the end of this year, and a switch back to Upton Park may tempt Kanoute to take a pay cut and drop a division. If we can bring him in, it will be a major success.
With it looking like Rob Green will move on to bigger and better things, there will be a void left between the sticks. We have youngsters Ruud Boffin and Marek Stech who could fill the boots, but from experiences this season, it is evident that Stech flaps when the ball gets close to his net, and Boffin looks decent, but not good enough.
Kasper Schmeichel has proven that he can perform in the Championship and has even generated interest from some pretty big Premiership clubs. West Ham would surely be a step up from Leeds, and he would fit in very well with our plans.
He definitely has the potential to be a top keeper, and has showed glimpses of his father's skill. If we can tempt him to join the Irons, then our goalkeeping worries will be gone once Green departs.
30-year-old Konchesky is a very accomplished left-back, and with Bridge looking to be moving elsewhere after his pretty decent loan spell, we are in desperate need of a replacement. Illunga doesn't cut it, therefore Konchesky looks like the perfect choice. He isn't good enough to play for Liverpool, and Forest don't seem to have the funds to sign him, so why not swoop in and get in a solid full-back that knows how to defend correctly?
He is sure to generate some interest from Premiership clubs, but he may be willing to drop a division permanently and help the club seal promotion on the first time of asking. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure. His bald head would look pretty damn sexy in a claret and blue shirt.
Faye seems to have become somewhat of a fringe player at Stoke this season, mainly because of a few minor injuries that have squandered his season. He is now 33 years old, and I honestly think he will be looking to move on from Stoke at the end of this season. Where better to go than the now relegated West Ham?
We'd relish in having him in our ranks. Faye is an accomplished defender and born leader. We are going to need a new skipper for next season, and if Faye came in, he'd be well in the running for the captain's arm-band. He has a history of injuries—although nothing major—and considering he will be pretty cheap, this beast of a man can not be overlooked.