West Ham: New signing Mohammed Kudus opens door to a wealth of options for David Moyes

Fewer than four weeks ago, West Ham were creeping perilously towards the new season, shorn of their best player, yet to buy a single one in his stead and with fears last year's relegation scrap might be in danger of a repeat.

It is fair to say, then, that the mood in east London has transformed quite markedly, David Moyes's side off to a flying start in the Premier League having spent Saturday night atop its early table, and now with a midfield rebuild for the post-Declan Rice age complete.

James Ward-Prowse already looks every bit the no-brainer signing for this team that Moyes thought him long ago, while the early signs are that Edson Alvarez has the tools for a swift adaptation to English football. In Mohammed Kudus, the Hammers have now added a player of genuine X-factor as well.

After scoring 18 times for Ajax last season, Kudus was heavily linked with other clubs this summer, including Arsenal, while Brighton went further in coming close to sealing a deal (interest from the country's shrewdest recruitment team is usually a decent sign). It is difficult to gauge quite what it says about the Hammers' growing lure that a player of such stature has ended up at the London Stadium, just as Lucas Paqueta did in not dissimilar circumstances 12 months ago.

 (ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
(ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

The financial firepower of the Premier League is a factor that has emboldened (and, in some instances, made life a little trickier for) all English clubs in the transfer window, it being inconceivable that Empoli or Cadiz — who, like West Ham, finished 14th in one of Europe's elite leagues last term — could have laid out a £38million transfer fee.

Nor, though, can it be coincidence that West Ham are now a European presence on the rise, not only winners of continental silverware last term but also about to embark on a third successive European campaign for the first time in their history.

Kudus is already up and running in Europe this term, scoring a hat-trick in a Europa League play-off against Ludogorets last week (thankfully, that outing has not left the 23-year-old cup-tied) and it will be intriguing to see where Moyes utilises his new weapon.

Too much of this Hammers squad is reliant on needing the ideal circumstances of both position and system to thrive, but Kudus's extreme versatility will unlock numerous options. Playing Jarrod Bowen up front, for instance, has been talked up by Moyes, but until now he has hardly had anyone to fill the winger's slot on the right. As a striker, Kudus could offer respite for Michail Antonio, who has started the season well but will not be able to carry the burden alone all term.

On that front, the Hammers may yet move again to add to their firepower. In midfield, though, their work is surely done.