Hart can help West Ham reach top eight - Hislop

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Joe Hart is West Ham's "most important" signing of the summer according to ex-goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who backed his former club to challenge for a place in the Premier League's top eight.

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic secured Hart's services on a season-long loan from Manchester City during a busy transfer window in which full-back Pablo Zabaleta has also arrived on a free transfer from the Etihad Stadium.

Bilic has also recruited Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City for a club record fee that could rise to £25 million and Javier Hernandez joined the club from Bayer Leverkusen for £16m.

Hislop, who made more than 100 league appearances for West Ham between 1998 and 2002 before rejoining the club for a second spell in 2005-06, praised the manager's additions to the squad and picked out Hart as the key acquisition.

"This transfer window has been a significant step forward because the board said they wanted to get quality in, and that's exactly what they have done," Hislop told the club's official website.

"Of all the signings, I think Joe's is the most important. I am biased in that regard but Joe ticks a number of boxes when it comes to signing a top-class goalkeeper.

"He has the carrot of a World Cup 12 months away and, being aware that there is a pack of young goalkeepers eager to take his number one jersey, I am sure he will produce the performances that ensure he is England's first-choice at Russia 2018."

Hislop added: "Up front, Javier Hernandez is an instinctive finisher who will get you goals. He can be a streaky scorer but, when he is on form, he is almost impossible to stop.

"It's going to be tough for West Ham to break into the Premier League's top six, but if any clubs are going to surprise those above them, it will be either West Ham or Everton, for me. 

"If things go well and the new signings slot in and the players avoid injuries, then I believe West Ham should be finishing in the top half and challenging for the top eight."