It’s easy to get carried away when you’re spending money left, right and centre. But when you haven’t had much to shout about for the best part of two seasons, then why the hell not?
It’s a great time to be a West Ham fan. Or at least it feels that way anyway, after a summer of unrelenting transfer spending. Almost £100m has been blown, seven new players have arrived and a former Premier League winning manager is now at the helm.
So could Manuel Pellegrini’s new look Hammers suddenly be positioning themselves for a charge at the seemingly untouchable top six?
Give or take a little bias (or a lot), here are six reasons that could justify the rationale that West Ham will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
6. The Hammers Credit Card Has Been Maxed Out
As alluded to in the introduction, West Ham have splashed the cash this summer. After a couple of frustrating seasons where caution took centre stage, the purse strings have flung wide open this summer.
Manuel Pellegrini, as well as new director of football Mario Husillos, have delved deep into the kitty in order to bring seven new faces to the London Stadium, some of them at great expense.
Record signing Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko have arrived for significant amounts of money, while Lukasz Fabianski and Fabian Balbuena commanded almost £15m as a duo.
Jack Wilshere and Ryan Fredericks may have arrived on ‘free transfers’, but their significant wage contributions will have provided quite a sting in the Hammers financial tail.
5. Hostility Has Turned Into Positivity
The atmosphere around the London Stadium was toxic at times last season, with the culmination of fans frustration boiling over during an embarrassing display against Burnley.
The subsequent pitch invasion and protests towards the club’s board can never be justified in any way, shape or form, but it sadly epitomised much of the ill feeling towards the running of the club.
Much of that bizarrely surrounded the appointment of David Moyes, but with the Scotsman having departed after successfully accomplishing his survival mission, it feels like a new dawn and a new day has arrived in the east end of London.
4. The Magic of Marko
Marko Arnautović looked disinterested, lethargic and out of place when he first arrived at the London Stadium.
After a positional change last December, Arnautović has transformed into a completely different proposition, leading the Hammers line with pace, power and authority.
The 29-year-old Austrian is now a leading light for Pellegrini’s side, and was even touted with a move to Manchester United this summer. With five goals in four pre-season games, Arnautović seems hungrier than ever to add to his success last season, and his continued good form will have a huge influence on how West Ham’s season pans out.
3. Strength in Depth
Coming from a West Ham fan, it says it all when I’m inclined to say that our bench has often looked pretty feeble in recent years.
Interspersed with a few first-team regulars are often a couple of youth academy graduates, who aren’t quite ready for exposure on the big stage. Injuries have played a part in that happening, but even with that factored in, you might struggle to find a weak Hammers bench this season.
Barring an injury crisis of epic proportions, Manuel Pellegrini has a substantial pool of players to choose from, with forgotten loan man Robert Snodgrass even enjoying a welcome back into the pre-season fold.
2. The Felipe Anderson Effect
It could be a case of Dimitri Payet, version two. Or at least that it what I, along with thousands of others are hoping for when it comes to the signing of Felipe Anderson.
The former Lazio star is revered as one of the quickest wingers in European football, and arrives at the London Stadium with a soaring reputation.
Should he live up to the price tag, Anderson could prove to be a huge hit this season and he could be the catalyst to any success West Ham have this season, mirroring the impact that Payet had in the 2015/16 season.
1. Home Comforts
The London Stadium hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground for West Ham since moving in two years ago.
The Hammers have lost as many Premier League games as they have won at home in that time, with 14 wins and 14 defeats sandwiched by 10 draws. The days of fortress Upton Park may be a distant memory, but I dare say it’s time to revive that spirit this season ahead of this hugely anticipated league season.
The good news is that Manuel Pellegrini’s experience of English football is a pretty happy one – he’s won the league with Manchester City and during his three year stay at the club, he enjoyed a 75% win ratio at the Etihad.
Replicating that kind of home form, or coming anywhere close to it, could be the foundations of a prosperous, eye-opening and ultimately top six busting campaign.