West Ham United will make keeping Dimitri Payet and signing a striker their priority in the January transfer window, according to co-owner David Sullivan. The Hammers are languishing in the bottom half, just five points above the relegation zone ahead of the festive period.
Slaven Bilic's side have been unable to build on their impressive campaign last term, when they finished seventh - above the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. In their first season in the London Stadium, the club have already lost eight times and are facing a troubling season ahead.
Among the symptoms of West Ham's troubles has been the form of playmaker Payet, who has failed to recapture the magic which saw him nominated for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award. The France international has flirted with the idea of a move to Arsenal but Sullivan has no plans to allow him to leave.
When asked how confident he was that Payet would end the January window as a West Ham player, he told Sky Sports: "Very confident!"
Addressing the 29-year-old's concerns earlier in the week, Bilic said according to The Evening Standard: "We don't want to sell him. He is our top player and like with any other player, especially great ones, there is speculation. He has a long contract and we will do everything we can to ensure he stays with us."
Having mustered just 19 goals this season, West Ham's biggest problem has come in attack where injury has affected the club's frontline. Andy Carroll has missed large swathes of the campaign while Diafra Sakho is facing another eight weeks out due to a back problem. The Senegalese international's plight has made signing a forward more important than ever and Sullivan has confirmed the club will pursue additional forwards next month.
"Every transfer window gets harder and harder each year but the January window is far more challenging than the summer window, simply because it is shorter and very few players of real quality are available.
"It consumes every single hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when not directly negotiating or speaking with agents and clubs, we are constantly focusing on our recruitment process," said Sullivan.
"There is no expectation about what we might do, only hope. Maybe three players out and three players in, but that is only the hope. In reality, your hopes don't always come true, and we could end up doing no business at all. We are always looking for players who could improve any area of the squad but, like almost every club, we are looking for another striker. Diafra Sakho has this week had an operation which will keep him out for a considerable period of time."