Tony Cottee Column: It’s been a busy summer but now the real hard work starts for West Ham

“It is imperative that the Hammers take advantage of their kind season-opening fixtures.”

It has been a busy summer for West Ham and Sam Allardyce has been working hard in the transfer market as he tries to build a squad capable of Premier League survival, and I think he has made some real shrewd purchases.

I know that I wasn’t the only person disappointed to see Robert Green leave the club, and he was a loyal servant in east London and I hope he does well at QPR.

Not every team can boast an England international keeper in goal and I hope that we don’t miss him as much as we potentially could.

However, Allardyce was quick to bring in Jussi Jaaskelainen from Bolton Wanderers, and we have seen over the years that he is a more than capable keeper in the Premier League.

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I know that he lost his place to Adam Bogdan at Bolton last season, but the Trotters ended up getting relegated to the Championship. I am not saying that Jaaskelainen could have prevented that, but I think he does have the potential to become a top Premier League keeper once again.

Momo Diame has also been brought in to shore up the midfield and he is the signing that has excited me the most, so far.

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Having seen him play over the past couple of seasons, he is a player that really influences the game with his energetic performances and as a relatively young player has lots to prove in the top flight.

We have all seen what Alou Diarra has done for France over the years and his experience will be invaluable over the course of the season, but I think the club have taken a risk in signing Modibo Maiga.

The club paid �4.7 million to bring the striker to England and it can take some time for forwards that have played in European leagues to adjust to the pace of Premier League football.

However, if the Hammers wanted to sign a proven top-flight striker they would have had to pay at least twice as much, so it was a double-edged sword for the club.

Another name touted to join West Ham is Matt Jarvis and he is the type of player I think we really need.

A genuine winger, he is exciting, provides great delivery and it is clear that he wants to move back to the Premier League following Wolves’ relegation to the Championship.

The club have also managed to move on some players that were no longer needed, although one that I will be sad to see go if he does indeed leave is Sam Baldock.

It was hard for Sam to come in and do a job straight away and I do feel like he wasn’t given a consistent run in the team to show what he can do.

I’m sure the management have seen lots of him in training, but a match scenario is completely different.

This Saturday, the Hammers welcome Aston Villa to Upton Park for the opening league game of the season and I can’t wait.

It is important that West Ham get off to a good start and the fixtures computer has been kind to us with our opening few games and it is imperative that we take advantage of that and get as many points on the board as we possibly can.

Villa will come to West Ham looking to play good football and I think they have been galvanised by the arrival of Paul Lambert as manager from Norwich City and it will be tough.

Lambert has some good players at his disposal like Darren Bent, who has the potential to cause defenders all sorts of problems.

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