West Ham United face a difficult summer of negotiation after seeing two deals collapse within a week of the transfer window opening, sources have confirmed to Football FanCast.
The Hammers have been actively exploring the possibility of making additions to their squad but have already given up on two deals, per our sources.
Maxi Gomez, a top target in January amid Marko Arnautovic’s flirtation with a move to China, has already been ruled out; his release clause of €45million (£39.7m) is prohibitive, with manager Manuel Pellegrini told he only has a basic transfer budget of £30m, plus whatever he can raise in sales.
A move may have been achievable had Celta been relegated to the second-tier of Spanish football – his release clause would have halved – but they ultimately stayed up by four points.
Arnautovic is not expected to be sold and there has been no interest in the player thus far; indeed, one source told FFC that the club had yet to field a single enquiry for any of their players, despite Everton being linked with Aaron Cresswell and a number of clubs touted as potential suitors for midfielder Declan Rice.
Goalkeeper Adrian is expected to leave on a free transfer as he seeks first-team football, with his contract set to expire this summer, and an enquiry was made for Chelsea’s Willy Caballero, but the Blues activated an option in the stopper’s contract that ties him to the club for another year. It is not known if the clause was triggered before or after the Irons’ interest.
The Hammers, throughout the preceding months, have scouted a number of players and Aleksandar Mitrovic is a top target. Fulham’s relegation has made the Serbia international attainable for West Ham and they are seeking to ascertain whether or not his contract contains a release clause. He scored 11 Premier League goals in 2018-19.
Salomon Rondon, the West Bromwich Albion striker who spent the season on loan at Newcastle United, is “really liked” by the Hammers and he has been scouted extensively; he is 29 but has a release clause that stands at around £16m, a figure that has not scared away those within the east London club.
Indeed, powerbrokers at the club expect there to be around five signings this summer, with manager Pellegrini keen to overhaul his squad.
There will be evolution instead of revolution, though; one target is a defensive midfielder to offer cover for and competition to Rice. Mark Noble, of course, is ageing and fresh legs are deemed as essential in the middle of the park.
The quality of these deals may ultimately rest on whether the club can cash in on a multitude of fringe players, however.
If not, the Hammers may ultimately be forced into negotiations with functional players, instead of those who are able to make an instant impact on the starting XI.
Pellegrini will play a key role in identifying the targets he wishes to sign and there is hope that there will be deals to announce relatively soon.
However, one source told FFC that the transfer window “does not feel open yet”, such has been the lack of positive activity.
The window will surely “open” soon though, with the Hammers likely to be front and centre of the striker merry-go-round.