West Ham make Armando Broja signing a priority as David Moyes’ £150m summer takes shape

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 (PA)
(PA)

Amid the souping up of the Premier League’s two Rolls Royce squads at the Etihad and Anfield, the swift and sizeable improvements being made at both north London clubs, the new-era-defining overhaul underway at Chelsea and the slow-moving circus at Old Trafford, it has gone a little understated just how ambitious a summer West Ham have been plotting.

When defender Nayef Aguerd became the Hammers’ first signing of the window in a £28million switch from Rennes, the message out of the club was that at least six more new arrivals were wanted by manager David Moyes.

That seemed optimistic, considering the main criticism of Moyes’ transfer activity during his second spell in charge has been the lack of it. Already though, two more players have arrived, with another three seemingly close to following with more than six weeks until deadline day.

Lifelong Irons fan Flynn Downes has come in from Swansea in what looks like a shrewd £9m deal, while Alphonse Areola made his loan switch from PSG permanent in something of a no-brainer. Now, finalising a £30m deal for Chelsea striker Armando Broja is the No1 priority, while the club are increasingly confident that free agent Jesse Lingard and Lille midfielder Amadou Onana are headed for the London Stadium, too.

Armando Broja is the club’s priority signing. (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Armando Broja is the club’s priority signing. (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Beyond that, a left-back remains on Moyes’ radar, as may a new wide forward, while talks are still ongoing over Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca, though whether both he and Broja could realistically arrive remains to be seen.

Should all go to plan, the outlay on transfer fees alone could touch £150m. Such investment does not guarantee success - look at the €30m paid for Nikola Vlasic last summer - but it is clear that West Ham are looking to capitalise on a moment.

In Moyes’ quest to establish the east Londoners as a ‘Big Six’ disruptor and regular European presence there is no time like, well, the present - something the Scot was stressing well before the end of last season, desperate to add quality and depth to his squad even as it was rolling towards the semi-finals of the Europa League.

That success has offered up the springiest of springboards and the club’s backing of Moyes in the market has made clear that the opportunity to strengthen from a position of strength will not be passed up. They know that 12 months from now, the picture could look very different.

For one, Declan Rice’s future will be a much more contentious issue next summer than this and perhaps that of Jarrod Bowen, too. So far, the only outgoings this summer have been bit-parters Ryan Fredericks, Andriy Yarmolenko and David Martin at the end of their contracts, club captain Mark Noble into retirement and Alex Kral at the end of a poor loan spell. None of those departures weaken Moyes’ best XI but it is highly unusual for a club of West Ham’s stature to enjoy such a run of success without having at least one of their best players pilfered and it will not last forever.

Then there is the looming spectre of the Toon. Newcastle are having trouble finding takers for their Saudi cash in this window and look likely to miss out to West Ham on both Lingard and Broja, but that status quo will not be maintained for long, particularly if the Magpies can threaten West Ham’s place as the ‘best of the rest’ this term and push for Europe themselves.

Lest they win a trophy, Moyes’ men will have to fend off that challenge and hold on to seventh at the very least to earn a third straight season in Uefa competition. Yet if their transfer ambition is anything to go by, treading water does not appear to be an option.

Buoyed by their European run and hungry for more, with their best players going nowhere but more established rivals threatening to pull clear, it is little wonder West Ham have decided the time is now.

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