Booed off in victory against Hull City due to the uninspired nature of their performance, West Ham are in dire need of an infusion of quality.
A 21/10-rated win at Sunderland, who have the Premier League’s worst home record, would lock away relegation worries for another campaign, but misgivings over the players available to Sam Allardyce may not be so easy to suppress.
Financial constraints were the root cause of the Irons’ January sales inertia, with a trio of unheralded Serie A loanees making one start between them hardly the shot in the arm they required.
West Ham may not be rolling in the folding stuff at present, but that would likely be no barrier to them rehoming unwanted Chelsea squad members Demba Ba and Ryan Bertrand.
A big-money centre-forward signing looks increasingly likely at Stamford Bridge, where Jose Mourinho has made little secret of his dissatisfaction with his options, but any splurge will have to be offset by sales due to financial fair play regulations.
Ba has every right to feel aggrieved by his lack of playing time, after all his Champions League minutes per goal average this term equates to a strike every 60 minutes, a ratio on a par with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
At 28-years-old the Senegal hitman should be approaching his prime as a footballer and indeed he was before he swapped Newcastle for west London, notching 13 times in 20 league games for the Magpies prior to his January 2013 switch.
The one-time Iron would rate a far more cultured alternative to Andy Carroll, while his fellow Chelsea outcast Bertrand would be an upgrade for a left-back slot that has long since lacked a go-to man.
Razvan Rat’s short stay in the east end was disastrous and solid servant George McCartney has stepped manfully into the breach.
However, Bertrand’s quality and tactical awareness was sufficient for Roberto Mancini to pitch him into the Champions League final on the left wing two years back.
Meanwhile, he was a target for Liverpool before the Reds’ underuse of Chelsea loanee Victor Moses soured transfer relations between Merseyside and west London.
Bertrand told the Birmingham Mail: “Come the summer I need to be the No.1 left-back, wherever that will be.”
It’s a need for first-team football that Hammers could easily move to succour, with the opportunity to remain in the capital likely to prove attractive to the England international.