With a somewhat unexpected and highly credible 7th place finish in the Barclays Premier League, there was a buzz of excitement as Slaven Bilic guided West Ham towards pastures new at the end of the 2015/16 season.
Free flowing attacking football led by the mercurial Dimitri Payet had fans and pundits alike purring with excitement. A state of the art 60,000 capacity new home awaited. Big name signings were rumoured, with co-chairmen David’s Sullivan and Gold fuelling speculation with on the record statements of intent.
So what has gone wrong this season at the London Stadium for a West Ham side that showed so much promise? Looking at back on this season we mustask what the future holds for Slaven Bilic, and how this helps us select from the latest betting offers for the forthcoming season.
Expectations were high.
Transformed from a purpose built athletics stadium that took pride of place in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the London Stadium as it was now known was ready to play host to an exciting side who had just delivered West Ham’s best league finish in fourteen years.
Increased revenue generated from the Premier League’s renegotiated television deals sparked belief that the club could be positioned to challenge for European qualification once more.
What followed was a summer of steady, but unspectacular recruitment. Havard Nordtveit and Sofiane Feghouli arrived on free transfers, Manuel Lanzini’s loan was turned into a permanent deal and Arthur Masuaku joined from Olympiacos.
Crucially though, high profile targets did not arrive. Alexandre Lacazette, Michy Batshuayi and Christian Benteke were among a host of top class strikers linked with the club. None signed.
A disappointing pre-season followed. One win in six matches left many questions lingering around what expectations to set for the season.
The club reacted. Andre Ayew set a new transfer record for the club, arriving from Swansea for £20.5m. A few more low-key signings arrived before the window shut, but nothing to really support the ambition mooted during the summer.