West Ham's 3 January striker targets each come with a hitch

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic

West Ham United are desperately searching for increased firepower in the January transfer window.

The Hammers have endured a pretty torrid first half of the season but three wins in a row have lifted the club out of the relegation reckoning and into the relative comfort of midtable.

Slaven Bilic's second season also coincided with the big move to the Olympic Stadium, which itself has been beset with issues.

The most pressing for the club, though, is the ongoing search for a reliable source of goals.

Diafra Sakho has effectively been ruled out for most of the remaining months of the season and Andy Carroll's injury record offers little reassurance to the Hammers.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic speaks with  Simone ZazaWest Ham United manager Slaven Bilic speaks with flop Simone Zaza

Flop loan signings Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza will both return to their parent clubs in the coming weeks.

Andre Ayew, who got his first West Ham goal in the 4-1 win over Swansea City last time out, is off to the African Nations with Ghana leaving just young Ashley Fletcher as Carroll's back-up.

West Ham's lack of goalscoring options are brought sharply into focus by the fact Dimitri Payet has once again created more chances for his teammates than any other player in Europe's top five leagues this season.

But landing one of their three main striker targets presents its own issues with each coming with a hitch.

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and manager Juergen KloppLiverpool's Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge

Slaven Bilic already has enough injury-prone strikers in the shape of Carroll and Sakho.

Some Hammers fans were sceptical about signing the big Geordie in the first place given his injury record.

The club has had its fingers burned in the past too with the likes of Keiron Dyer, Freddie Ljungberg and Craig Bellamy enduring injury-ravaged spells at the club on big money deals.

So a move for Liverpool striker Sturridge would be seen as a major risk given the former Chelsea man's history of fitness problems.

While there is no doubting his quality, could West Ham keep Sturridge on the pitch long enough to reap the benefits?

Sunderland's Jermain DefoeSunderland's Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe

At 34, the Sunderland star does not represent the kind of player profile West Ham's owners targeted with their revamped transfer policy and he will certainly have no resale value.

But if West Ham's summer business is anything to go by that transfer policy needs reviewing as only Edimilson Fernandes from the 10 players signed has made any kind of impact.

Defoe's age could well count him out of a return to his first club, though, as the Black Cats would likely want at least £10 million for his services.

Another issue would be the fact Defoe still divides opinion among the club's fans over the way he left the club to join Tottenham Hotspur.

But that would surely be put to bed if the player were to bag a few crucial goals for the East Londoners.

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi in action with Everton's Ashley WilliamsChelsea's Michy Batshuayi in action

Michy Batshuayi

Like West Ham, Michy Batshuayi has endured a difficult season in the Premier League.

The Belgian youngster has barely been used by Blues boss Antonio Conte and has been linked with a loan move to the London Stadium.

But the problem with signing Batshuayi would be that it was his snub in the summer which left West Ham without a top class striker after the Hammers had a £30m bid accepted by Marseille.

Batshuayi preferred the Hammers' rivals Chelsea, though, and he has not been allowed to forget it by West Ham fans on social media.

He also, by virtue of not getting a game under Conte, has no real Premier League experience which is what West Ham need according to Bilic.

 

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