'No pressure Slav, but we're better than a year ago' – West Ham co-owner's verdict ahead of new season

West Ham Dugout

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has ramped up the pressure on new boss Slaven Bilic by insisting the team is better than it was 12 months ago.

The Hammers have been one of the busiest Premier League clubs in the summer transfer market spending over £25 million so far, and co-owner David Gold has raised expectations in an interview with the club's website.

Co-owners David Sullivan and Gold have been true to their word by investing significant funds to strengthen new boss Slaven Bilic's squad.

So far the East Londoners have brought in eight signings including goalkeeper Darren Randolph on a free transfer, midfielders Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet for a combined total of around £15 million, defender Angelo Ogbonna for around £8 million, Carl Jenkinson in on loan again from Arsenal for a fee believed to be £2 million and Argentine wildcard Manuel Lanzini.

The Irons had already signed left back Stephen Hendrie from Scottish side Hamilton back in January and he officially became a West Ham player on July 1st.

Bilic has also brought in 18-year-old hot prospect Martin Samuelsen from Manchester City as one for the future, but he has impressed so much he is now expected to be a regular fixture in the first team squad.

Stewart Downing, one of West Ham's best players last season, is the only major departure and the Hammers are looking to strengthen the squad further still by signing a top striker.

Bilic under pressure on all fronts

While it is exciting times for fans Bilic is dealing with pressure on all fronts.

Not only is it his debut season as a manager in the Premier League but it is also the club's last ever season at their Boleyn Ground home of 112 years before they move to the 54,000 seater Olympic Stadium next summer.

Bilic knows the club must go there in good health. But the added burden of Europa League football – which could potentially add as many as 23 games to West Ham's season – is another factor making his first season rather suffocating.

New boss on the Gold trail

And Gold may have inadvertently added to the pressure by telling West Ham's official site his views on how things are shaping up ahead of the big kick off against Arsenal on August 9th.

"We have certainly put the miles in both on and off the field and we are a better team heading into the opening league game against Arsenal than we were 12 months ago," Gold told whufc.com.

"You only have to look at our final ever season at the Boleyn Ground to see that season tickets have already sold out and the games will sell out.

"Fans realise that something special is happening here and they all want to be a part of it."

No pressure then Slaven, but then if the owners didn't think the former Croatia boss could handle it they wouldn't have appointed him in the first place.

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