That’s the number of strikers West Ham have used since David Gold and David Sullivan took over, according to Blair Newman of Football Whispers, which is quite frankly appalling.
Last summer was the time for the London club to get that sorted, having finished 7th in the league and with ambitious plans to build on that, but it just wasn’t to be.
Bids for Michy Batshuayi and Alexandre Lacazette never came to anything, while a prolonged attempt to sign AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca saw the Colombian striker eventually stay in Italy.
Bringing in both Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri on loan certainly made up the numbers in the squad, but every time either of the pair played, the quality was clearly lacking.
The Italian saw his temporary deal cut short by West Ham and Juventus in January, eventually landing in Valencia, while the former Porto striker stayed at the London Stadium, but has only made 12 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers.
A new striker is needed this summer, and while there are plenty of options out there, two stand out as ideal alternatives for Andy Carroll, who is likely to stay at least another season at West Ham despite interest from China, while the other might be a worthy wildcard if push comes to shove.
The expensive one
It might seem like a ‘back to square one’ scenario, but you could say the Hammers have a better chance of signing Michy Batshuayi, now at Chelsea, this summer than they did last year.
Last season saw the Belgian striker have a great time at Marseille, carrying the team on his back at times, and while West Ham were a logical next step for the Belgian, when the option to join Antonio Conte presented itself, he was never going to say no.
Here we are, with the 2016/17 season coming to an end, and Batshuayi has spent most of his time on the bench at Stamford Bridge, mostly coming on for brief cameos towards the end of games to show that he’s still part of the squad and the €40m Chelsea spent on him weren’t a waste.
Clearly not a favourite of Conte’s, the former Marseille striker needs to move next season if he wants to save his career, and we already explained that a return to his old club in Ligue 1 could make sense, yet with West Ham wanting, and needing, to spend big on a striker, this could be the perfect opportunity.
While Chelsea will want to make most of their money back, they might struggle to convince teams to pay over the odds for a player who has barely featured, even if it appears to be one of their specialties.
Furthermore, West Ham could always do what they tried to do with Zaza, which is bring him in on loan with an option to buy based on how many appearances he makes or goals he scores.
This would give Batshuayi an incentive to perform, knowing that a good season in England, a country he wants to play football in, could make up for the time he wasted on the Chelsea’s bench.
Capable of playing equally with his back to goal, as well as taking people on, the Belgium international would offer an interesting alternative to, or could even compliment, the target man option provided by Andy Carroll.
He scored 23 goals and provided 10 assists for teammates in 50 appearances at Marseille last season, which is even more impressive when you consider the lack of creativity present in their squad back then.
Spending £30m on Batshuayi might seem a lot after this season, but with the potential still there (he’s only 23), it would be an investment more than anything else.
After all, he’s scored a goal every 84 minutes at Chelsea this season, which is impressive when you take into account he’s played less than 600 minutes.
The sensible one
West Ham’s pursuit of Scott Hogan during the January transfer window showed the Hammers weren’t afraid to look in the lower leagues to find a solution to their problem.
Signing for Aston Villa instead, the 24-year-old appears to be an unrealistic target for Slaven Bilic in the summer, yet another Championship striker has shown he might have what it takes to make a name for himself in the Premier League next season: Leeds’ Chris Wood.
The New Zealand international has spent most of his career in the Championship, even if he did make a few appearances here and there in the top tier for both West Brom and Leicester City, yet it’s only over the past couple of seasons that he’s come out of his shell.
Going from strength to strength at Leeds United, Wood finished last season with 13 league goals, a tally he has absolutely smashed this time around, finding the back of the net 24 times in 36 league games.
With those stats, the 25-year-old appears ready to take the next step in his career, and while a move to the ‘big 6’ seems a bit ambitious, a transfer to the London Stadium makes a lot of sense.
Think of Chris Wood as the man you can rely on to put the ball in the back of the net as long as you find him in the box.
Scoring all of his goals within the 18 yard box, the Kiwi has shown great composure this season for Leeds United, rarely panicking, even when needing to take more than one touch in front of the goalkeeper.
At 6’3” and around 15st, he will happily play the flat track bully in the box, using his bulk to find space, with more than one Championship defender ending up on the floor after a tussle with the forward, yet also shows great movement, knowing how to find space by stopping his run for a cutback.
An ideal alternative to Carroll, and likely to be around half the price of Batshuayi, we find it hard to believe the Leeds United striker hasn’t been linked more with a move to the Premier League in the summer.
West Ham should rectify this.
These lists should always have a wildcard, someone who doesn’t always spring to mind, but who certainly could do a job, and that man for West Ham could be Martin Braithwaite.
Currently at Toulouse in France, where he has been since 2013, the Denmark international has been moved around a fair bit, sometimes pushed out wide to accommodate another striker like Wissam Ben Yedder or more recently Andy Delort.
Yet, when used up front on his own, the 25-year-old has shown he has the ability to provide a lot of problems for opposition defences, using both power and pace to unsettle defenders, as well as showing decent finishing skills with both feet.
Perhaps not as prolific as the other two on paper, the Toulouse forward would also be available for around less than £10m.
The Ligue 1 club aren’t exactly in a position to hold clubs to ransom for their players, and while there might be better, and more expensive, options out there, Braithwaite could be a gamble worth taking.
Problem is, can West Ham afford another gamble in the striker’s position? Probably not.