Three strikers Slaven Bilic should target to bolster injury-hit West Ham squad in January

Slaven Bilic

West Ham United are suffering something of an injury crisis and Slaven Bilic may be forced to take action in the winter transfer window.

The Hammers are still reeling from losing three of their star players to long-term injuries but there is some light at the end of the tunnel with the January transfer window opening in less than a month.

When the Hammers drew 1-1 with Everton earlier this month, from the outside looking in it wasn't the worst result in the world.

It did not tell the tale of what has turned out to be one of the most costly draws in recent memory, though.

Missing key talent

That's because the East Londoners lost their star man Dimitri Payet for three months after a crude tackle from Toffees midfielder James McCarthy.

Not only that they also lost his replacement Enner Valencia, himself only just back from a three month injury, and he will sit out at least another month.

They say bad luck comes in threes and true to form the East Londoners were dealt another huge blow when key striker Diafra Sakho picked up a 'significant' thigh injury in the 1-1 draw with West Bromich Albion last time out, as confirmed on the club's official site.

He too faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines and it leaves West Ham shorn of their three most potent attackers.

Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold may be eager to bring in at least one new addition next month.

But who could the Hammers realistically aim for?

Charlie Austin

Quite how Queens Park Rangers managed to keep hold of Charlie Austin in the summer transfer window is a mystery, but his days as a Championship player are numbered.

Austin showed last season with the West Londoners that he can perform at Premier League level with 18 goals.

If QPR fail to sell him in January they risk losing him for free in the summer so he is likely to be available at a knock-down price.

The Hammers were heavily linked with Austin in the summer - as reported by the Evening Standard at the time - and could revisit the situation.

However comments made about the striker's fitness by West Ham chief Sullivan, which sparked a public row with the player after the close of the last window, could complicate matters.

Alexandre Pato

Pato has “expressed a desire to return to Europe” where he last played with AC Milan and is another who has been linked with a move to East London, as reported by the Daily Mail.

The 26-year-old's career has been in something of a nosedive in recent years and he has hardly set the Brazilian league alight since his return to his homeland.

The skillful forward is expected to leave Brazil when his loan deal with Sao Paulo expires next month, as reported by ESPN FC.

And Bilic could be the man to reinvigorate his top flight career.

Jese Rodriguez

A product of Real Madrid’s youth academy, Jese Rodriguez is reportedly frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities at the Bernabeu.

The Spain Under 21 international, whose main position is on the left wing but who can also play as a striker, has started just four times in the league this term.

But he has an impressive record of 10 goals in 40 games for Los Blancos, most of which came as sub.

And the Hammers could well approach Madrid about a potential loan move with an option to buy, the type of deal favoured by Sullivan and Gold.

Much was made of how Slaven Bilic's side would cope without Payet, Valencia and Sakho and unfortunately for Bilic and Hammers fans, the answer has been pretty emphatic after being hammered 4-1 by bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur and drawing 1-1 at home with West Brom.

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