Glen Johnson says last summer's signings have made it harder than ever to play against West Ham

The former Hammers defending believes the quality of their squad has increased in the last 12 months.

Former West Ham United defender Glen Johnson has told the club's official website that his old side have become harder than ever for opposing teams to play against because of the increase in quality of players at the club.

The Hammers have enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in recent years and briefly threatened to break into the top four before eventually finishing seventh in the Premier League table.

Buoyed by summer signings such as Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, and Michail Antonio and now under the rule of Slaven Bilic, they have marked the final season at their traditional Upton Park home with fine form, dazzling displays, and some impressive results.

If Manchester United win the FA Cup this weekend they will have Europa League football to look forward to next term in their first campaign at the Olympic Stadium.

Johnson believes that the quality of the signings the Irons have made in recent years have made them a much tougher proposition for opponents to face, and says they may move to an even higher level once they have relocated to the far larger stadium.

The Stoke City right-back, who came through the West Ham academy and made 16 senior appearances for the club, told the Hammers website: "I hope they can move onto the next level when they move into the new stadium during the summer. I'm sure the fans will fill it and they will have a great time there.

"It has been a great year for West Ham and they have got some very good players. It has never been easy to play against West Ham and now it is harder as they have slightly better players.

"They have a very good side and were unlucky not to break into the top four last season. Hopefully the team will get into the Europe and the fans deserve it. It will be great for the football club."

West Ham's season ultimately ended in some frustration as they lost two of their final three matches to miss out on a place in the top six.

However, supporters and club staff will likely be satisfied that the campaign represents a significant step forward for the club as they look to begin to establish themselves as a top English side.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch