West Ham United Director of Football Mario Husillos is involved in protracted negotiations with Celta Vigo over the transfer of Maxi Gomez and is likely to remain as such until the final days of the transfer window, sources have told Football FanCast.
The Hammers are attempting to restructure their squad this summer and Manuel Pellegrini is keen to secure at least one striker in this transfer window.
Pablo Fornals has already been signed from Villarreal to add depth to the attacking midfield positions but the Irons currently have just Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez as their senior forwards.
Chicharito, however, has been made available for transfer and if he departs, the club will be left with just Arnautovic and utility man Michail Antonio as their striking options.
As such, Pellegrini has instructed the club to once again pursue a deal for Gomez, who has a €50m (£44.7m) release clause in his contract.
The Hammers initially identified the Uruguay striker as a target in January amid concerns that Arnautovic could leave for China.
Of course, he ended up signing a new contract and that development put paid to their plan of signing Gomez, with the money recouped from selling the Austria international set to be reinvested, wholesale, into the acquisition of the 22-year-old.
He scored 13 goals in La Liga as Celta avoided relegation – if they had gone down, his release clause would have halved – and Husillos is now attempting to negotiate a deal that could see Gomez link up with Arnautovic in east London.
However, sources have confirmed to Football FanCast that the Irons first face the issue of Gomez’s release clause, with his current club keen to see his asking price paid in full.
Secondly, the player would prefer to remain in Spain and there is a belief at the Hammers that Celta are merely holding out in the hope that a rival bidder will emerge. Valencia tabled an offer earlier this summer but it was not entertained, while West Ham had a £25m bid rejected.
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Gomez, sources have said, would like to play for one of Spain’s “big three”: Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid.
However, West Ham do not believe that the trio will register any sort of interest in him, and are confident that negotiations can be drawn to a favourable conclusion, eventually.
Indeed, one source within the club told FFC that they expect the deal to drag into the final few weeks of the transfer window, with another even claiming that it may be done on deadline day.
It remains to be seen if a compromise can be reached over a fee but there is a belief that Husillos can strike an agreement for a lower figure than the £45m clause in Gomez’s deal.
Pellegrini has explicitly requested the signing of the forward and FFC has been told that “what Pellegrini wants, Pellegrini gets”.