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West Ham could mount top-six challenge next season if they pulled off audacious £35m acquisition

The West Ham United fans were absolutely ecstatic in the Transfer Tavern this weekend after they recorded a 3-0 victory over Southampton in a crucial relegation six-pointer clash.

Chants of ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ have become something of a rarity between our tavern walls so far this season, but they could be heard ringing out on Saturday evening after a first-half frenzy from The Hammers moved them 5 points clear of the relegation zone with 7 fixtures left to play. The mood amongst the supporters was remarkably different in comparison to the one which characterised their defeat against Burnley prior to the international break, as despair was replaced by delirium in the London Stadium.

The quality of West Ham’s performances this season have been vastly superior to those you would expect from a side threatened by relegation, but a combination of a poor opening to the season and inconsistency has dragged them into the situation they find themselves in. However, the Premier League has taught us that fine margins separate the sides at the bottom of the table and those narrowly behind the top-six this season, and with that in mind, the West Ham supporters should be hopeful of a top-eight, or even a top-six finish next season.

In order for West Ham to challenge for Europe next season they will need to do two things: keep hold of Arnautovic and Lanzini and make a handful of quality signings. According to The Daily Mirror, West Ham are already lining up a summer bid for FC Porto’s Moussa Marega – a player who possesses the level of quality the club need to demonstrate a marked improvement next season.

The report claims that West Ham will bid £35 million to lure the Mali international away from the Portuguese giants this summer, and considering his record in Liga Nos it’s fair to say that figure would represent a fair price. So far this season, Marega has scored 21 goals and provided 7 assists from 35 appearances in all-competitions whilst predominantly operating in a role slightly behind the centre-forward.

Of course, it must be considered that the step up from Liga Nos to the Premier League is not an easy one to take, but his record speaks for itself and suggests that he has the potential to adapt to English football if he given the right opportunities to prove himself. West Ham have been overly reliant on Arnautovic for attacking inspiration so far this season, but the arrival of Marega could remove the weight of expectation on the Austrian’s shoulders this summer.

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Article title: West Ham could mount top-six challenge next season if they pulled off audacious £35m acquisition

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