West Ham United were unable to sustain their surprising push for a top-four berth in 2015/16, but that shortcoming should not detract from an otherwise superb first season under the management of cult hero Slaven Bilic. Spearheaded by sensational summer signing Dimitri Payet, the FA Cup quarter-finalists eventually finished seventh in their final campaign at the Boleyn Ground.
As the Hammers prepare to move into their new home at the Olympic Stadium, and with extra revenue available to lavish upon further new additions, it is difficult to dispute the notion that this is a club very much on the up. Another foray into the qualifying rounds of the Europa League is far from ideal, but Bilic will be expected to give the competition more prominence this time around after last year's disappointing exit at the hands of Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu.
Business so far
For all the talk of a £30m-£50m budget to spend this summer, the main arrival so far did not cost a penny, with versatile former Arsenal defender-cum-midfielder Havard Nordtveit joining on a free transfer from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach. The Norway international has signed a five-year contract and will arrive in East London on 1 July.
Toni Martinez has also been snapped up in a £2.4m deal from Valencia, with the 18-year-old Spanish striker announcing that he was swayed by the club's progress and the prospect of performing in front of a 60,000-strong crowd. West Ham also beat several top-flight rivals to the signing of former Chelsea forward Domingos Quina on a two-year scholarship agreement.
What they need
With Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho attracting attention from West Brom and Sunderland respectively, West Ham seem hell-bent on spending the bulk of their cash on improvements to the forward line. Andy Carroll's poor injury record means it would be foolish to rely too heavily upon his contributions and, with that in mind, Alexandre Lacazette, Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi have all been pinpointed as key targets.
Who could join
West Ham have certainly not been slow in conducting their transfer business over recent weeks. As well as moving to secure both Martinez and Nordtveit, the club were also criticised by Eddie Howe for a "bizarre" and unwelcome lucrative double bid for Matt Ritchie and Callum Wilson that was tabled on the eve of Bournemouth's final match of the season at Manchester United. That offer, believed to be worth in the region of £25m, was rejected – but this is a saga that will likely run for a number of weeks yet.
Along with the quartet of strikers already mentioned, AC Milan's Carlos Bacca and Andre Ayew of Swansea have also been linked. Ex-Chelsea winger Gokhan Tore could arrive from Besiktas, while there has been talk of a possible reunion with out-of-contract Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick. Reported pursuits of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Jamie Vardy all seem rather ambitious.
Who could leave
Payet's recent declaration that he is "very likely" to stay put despite mounting interest from across Europe will be worth more to West Ham supporters than any new signing. Newly promoted Middlesbrough have been told to dream on by David Gold after rumours of interest in Michail Antonio, although right-back Joey O'Brien and former Colchester United loanee Elliot Lee will move on, with their respective contracts set to expire.
Alex Song, Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses will also depart and return to their parent clubs after indifferent loan stints. Academy graduate and highly rated centre-back Reece Oxford is attracting attention from Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.
What the manager has said
Bilic is typically tricky to coax into revealing too much about his future plans, but West Ham co-chairmen Gold and David Sullivan have been quick to establish the club's ambitions ahead of a new era.
Speaking earlier this week, the latter told their club's official website: "We have done well with our signings and we hope we can sign a few more this summer who will do equally as well or better. We know that we need a top striker, which is the hardest thing to sign. We need a 20-goal-a-season striker and that will cost us £25m or £30m. That is where the bulk of the money goes.
"We also need the occasional long shot, which is the cheaper player that may come good. We want to sign more players. There might be a few fringe players who we will let go and use that to bring in two or three more players. We have already signed one player for next season and there will be other signings. I would think that four, five or six players will come in this summer depending on how many go and hopefully we do just as well or even better next season."