Intense Southampton striker Shane Long is the answer to West Ham's woes this January

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic

West Ham United are in desperate need of more firepower and Slaven Bilic could find the answer at Southampton.

Slaven Bilic's side have lost eight of their opening 13 Premier League matches and look set for an unexpected relegation battle.

The latest defeat, a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of London rivals Arsenal, set alarm bells ringing as the Hammers slipped one point and one place above the bottom three.

The club's summer transfer business has been the subject of scathing criticism from all quarters with only Edimilson Fernandes proving a success from the 10 first team players signed.

West Ham United manager Slaven BilicWest Ham United manager Slaven Bilic

Now Bilic must go back into the volatile January market in search of players to help steer his side away from danger during what has been a nightmare first season at their new 60,000 Olympic Stadium home.

West Ham may have the second worst defence in the Premier League but they have also thrown away more points than any other side from winning positions.

Add to that the fact that all the strikers on West Ham's books only have two Premier League goals between them this season and it tells its own story, the Hammers are not killing teams off.

After the Arsenal humbling Bilic publicly questioned the intensity of his struggling side both in training and matches.

And the perfect answer to his problems would be Saints striker Shane Long.

The Irishman is a player that should have been signed by the Hammers long ago as he moved from Reading to West Bromwich Albion, on to Hull and then down to the south coast.

The proven 29-year-old forward, who has 100 goals in 382 career games, has not seen as much action as he would have liked this season.

Southampton's Shane Long during the press conferenceSouthampton's Shane Long

His pace and work rate alone stretches defences and would allow the likes of Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew more room as well as giving Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini a willing runner to link up with.

One thing is for certain with Long up front Bilic's side would not lack intensity, and as the manager says that is the crux of West Ham's problems this season.

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