West Ham United can now look forward to another season of Premier League football after their impressive away victory over Leicester City and the planning for the summer will be underway.
It will be important to recruit well and build a team that can push for a top-half finish. The supporters won’t accept another relegation battle and it is evident that big changes need to be made if the club is to progress in the right direction.
One of the first items on the summer agenda will be to sign Joao Mario to a permanent contract. The midfielder has impressed during his loan spell from Inter Milan and there will be a desire to extend his stay at the London Stadium.
Should they wish to do so, Calcio Mercato have suggested that the Hammers can sign Mario from Inter for £24 million in the summer.
The Portuguese international has slotted in as one of the attacking midfielders behind Marko Arnautovic and has quickly emerged as one of the better players in the team.
In his eleven matches, he has scored two goals and contributed one assist, which is a good return considering he is adapting to a new league.
Against Leicester City at the weekend, he was one of the standout performers and showed his quality as the team battled to mathematical safety.
He got the opening goal thanks to some intelligent movement and a nice finish. It was an important strike and provided confidence for the performance that followed.
It was a surprise when West Ham signed Mario as it wasn’t long ago that the midfielder joined Inter Milan for an eye-watering fee, but he didn’t fit in at the club and the Hammers pounced when the opportunity arose.
This past weekend, he showed his ability in both halves of the pitch. In addition to his goal, he made three key passes and linked up well with Arnautovic and Lanzini.
Moyes has established a formation that allows for a fluid front three and their interchanging in the attacking half can be difficult to deal with.
Although he is played in an advanced role, he has defensive responsibilities and he carries those out well.
Mario completed two tackles and made three interceptions to show his work rate and ball-winning ability. He covers a lot of ground and his energy is a welcome addition to what was a laboured West Ham midfield during the first half of the season.
His performances have improved over time and he looks set to finish with a flourish this season.
The World Cup will be in his thoughts and he will have played his way into the thinking of the Portugal manager.
Since Euro 2016, he has tested himself in Italy and England. Mario may not have found his permanent home yet, but he will be stronger for the experiences he has endured.
West Ham are one of the bigger clubs outside of the top six and they will want to progress into a top ten force over the coming seasons. Their aims should be to challenge for Europe and win a domestic cup competition.
If they are to be successful in that, they need to sign players like Mario. He is an established international midfielder who has already proven he can do well for the Hammers.
His permanent signing should be a priority this summer.