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Five players West Ham United should sign

Sports Mole identifies five players that may help West Ham United improve upon last year's displays in the Premier League.

If you had offered any West Ham United supporter a halfway finish at the start of last season, they would have probably snatched your hand off for it.

That is actually what they managed under the guidance of Sam Allardyce, who had taken the Hammers up from the Championship during the previous campaign.

West Ham fans have high expectations though and are likely to want to see further improvements this time around. Andy Carroll, Razvan Rat and Adrian have already been recruited, but Sports Mole has picked out five more players that we feel would aid the club's chances of building upon last year's work.

Robert Huth, Stoke City

If reports are to be believed, James Tomkins could depart Upton Park over the coming weeks. Should that happen, it would leave West Ham slightly light in the centre-back department, particularly if either Winston Reid or James Collins suffered an injury.

The only way that Huth could be convinced to leave Stoke as if he were guaranteed regular starting action. With Reid and Collins around though, is that likely?

Well, there is a school of thought that Collins in particular has a mistake or two in his locker. The Welsh international is solid enough, but last season it was obvious at times that teams had identified him as a weakness, particularly on the ground.

Former Germany international Huth is an experienced Premier League defender who over the course of season would very rarely let you down.

What's more, his return of 13 goals in the last four seasons is very respectable for a player in his position.

Robert Huth and Steven Fletcher© PA Photos

James Milner, Manchester City

You are probably pointing out right now that Milner made 35 appearances in all competitions for Man City last season, surely he won't be available? The fact is though that he could well be.

City have recently signed Jesus Navas, who like Milner operates primarily on the right side of midfield. If the Spanish international hits the ground running, Milner's chances will be limited.

His wages could prove a stumbling block, but West Ham could maybe negotiate a loan deal in a similar way that they did with Liverpool for Carroll last term.

The England midfielder is similar to the likes of current West Ham players Matt Taylor, Jack Collison and Mark Noble in that he works extremely hard. No disrespect to that trio, but Milner probably has more ability on the ball.

He is capable of sending over decent crosses into the area, which would make life for Carroll much easier. The 27-year-old is also versatile and can play anywhere across the midfield.

James Milner© PA Photos

Jefferson Montero, Morelia

At this moment in time, there is not too much pace in the West Ham squad. Ricardo Vaz Te and Matt Jarvis possess some, but apart from that, speed across the ground is limited.

Now, signing a player who is just 23 and had seven clubs already sounds risky. That's more teams than a lot of players have in a whole career after all!

Even so, Montero is talented. The Ecuador international is tricky and comfortable with both feet. He also recently caused numerous problems to the Argentina defence in an international fixture.

Furthermore, he's shown at his clubs and with the national side that he can cut in from either flank and score goals.

Having never played in England, his arrival would be somewhat of risk. However, with just a £3m buyout clause in his contract, it could be a gamble worth taking.

Shane Long, West Bromwich Albion

One of the Premier League's best big man/little man partnerships was formed by Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn at Sunderland. Both scored their fair share of goals (more than in Phillips's case) and they caused problems for virtually every defence they come up against.

There is no reason why Carroll could not forge a similar understanding with West Brom striker Long.

The Republic of Ireland international is a busy centre-forward who doesn't give defenders a second to settle on the ball.

While Carroll may not be the most mobile of frontmen, neither was Quinn. But his sheer presence distracts defenders, which in turn would leave space for the speedy Long to exploit.

West Brom have limited goalscoring options at present, so perhaps sending Modibo Maiga in the opposite direction would sweeten the deal.

West Brom striker Shane Long celebrates opening the scoring at QPR on January 5, 2013© PA Photos

Matej Vydra, Udinese

During this series of articles, Vydra has been mentioned on numerous occasions. Some will say that it is a knee-jerk reaction to one good season on loan at Watford, which is an understandable conclusion to reach.

However, 20 goals in any division as a 21-year-old should not be ignored. He would have scored even more but for a barren spell towards the end of the campaign.

The Czech Republic international is similar to Long in many ways, in that he works hard and is a handy footballer at the same time. He gives off the impression though that he may be more clinical.

Last season West Ham's leading goalscorer was Kevin Nolan - a midfielder - on 10. That is a superb return from the skipper, but next term the strikers will need to weigh in with a few more.

Between Carroll, Long and Vydra, is should be a manageable task.

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West Ham United's Kevin Nolan rounds Reading's Alex McCarthy to score during the Premier League match on April 19, 2013
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