West Ham have asked an ex-Manchester United solicitor to help conclude a deal for Colombian forward Duvan Zapata, according to The Mirror.
The Hammers have reportedly settled on a £6.7million fee with Estudiantes for the 22-year-old, however the South American requires a work permit to complete the move.
Former Man Utd employee Maurice Watkins has therefore been hired by the east London club to represent them next week in a hearing which will determine whether the player can honour an agreed four-year contract.
Sam Allardyce is believed to think that Zapata’s pace and power would make him a good short-term replacement for Andy Carroll, who is due to miss the start of the season with injury.
On Carroll’s return, it is thought Zapata’s ability could make him a perfect partner for the England international.
West Ham are said to be confident ahead of the hearing because of the talent possessed by the 6ft 2in star. They will argue that he will make a significant contribution to the English game.
Colombia’s place at number three in the FIFA rankings may also be of help. Zapata has not represented his country at senior level, but is expected to feature at the World Cup next year.
Last season, he scored 14 times for Estudiantes, attracting interest from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Porto.
He joined the Argentinean side for just under £1million last year, following a successful season on loan in Buenos Aires.
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