The clock is ticking for David Moyes and West Ham the get the men they need to ensure they are playing Premier League football next season.
The East London club have already had three bids turned down as they attempt to bolster the squad during the January transfer window.
Moyes signed a short-term contract when he took over from Slaven Bilic in November with the board believing he is the right man to keep them up after a poor start to the season.
Since then they have beaten Chelsea and drawn with Arsenal but have also been defeated by fellow strugglers including Newcastle United.
The Hammers are well and truly in the Premier League relegation battle. Yesterday’s emphatic win over Huddersfield Town was a welcome relief and Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini ran the show.
But they are only five points above the relegation zone and the frailties are there for all to see.
Moyes claims he has identified the areas he needs to strengthen – it really doesn’t take a seasoned man like the Scot to discern that they need to get in at least two top defenders with Prem experience to shore up the leaky back-four, oh, and a solid midfielder – but no one has come in as of yet.
Swansea defender Alfie Mawson has been liked with the Hammers, as has Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and Bournemouth’s Harry After and I’m sure Moyes is on the case to get deals done.
The problem, however, is this: who would want to play for them?
You are going to have to offer big salaries to entice players of the calibre required to stave off relegation, and with the club already admitting several “thanks, but no thanks” replies to enquiries, they have to act quick and get the big bucks out.
A lot of players are out of contract in the summer, but many are out of West Ham’s league. I can’t see Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil in Claret and Blue.
But maybe they could convince bit-part player Luke Shaw to move down to London from Manchester United. Maybe Bayern Munich veteran Franck Ribery fancies a pay-day and a stint in the English capital.
United’s Ashley Young could also do a good job for Moyes at fullback.
Big-name Javier Hernandez seems out of Moyes’ plans and Diafra Sakho seems set to either move sideways to Crystal Palace or shift to Ligue 1 with Rennes.
What does this say about the state of affairs at the Olympic Stadium? It seems like a sinking ship with more deserters than rescuers.
If Hernandez and Sakho depart, this just leaves more gaps in a squad already short on manpower and confidence.
Bring in a marquee signing – even until the summer – and it might, just might, be the catalyst to attract others and get the Hammers climbing the table again.