On course to record their highest-ever final standing of the Premier League era and about to embark on a historic move to the Olympic Stadium, the coming transfer window looks set to be an incredibly exciting one for sixth-placed West Ham.
Indeed, the move to a new ground and the Premier League’s new television deal, which could see collective revenue rise to a staggering £8billion, not to mention the potential incentive of Champions League football, should allow the Hammers access to a higher bracket of the transfer market.
And West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan has made no secret of where the east London club’s priorities will lie this summer – acquiring a new centre-forward.
Indeed, despite the Hammers’ impressive rise under Slaven Bilic this season, midfielder Dimitri Payet is currently their top scorer in the Premier League with nine goals. Strikers Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Emmanuel Emenike, meanwhile, have netted just 12times between them.
Sullivan told talkSPORT last month; “We have a list of about ten strikers all over Europe, and most of our money will go into signing a striker. That is the plan for next season. There are a number of top Premier League players we may be bidding for, top goalscorers, but I can’t name them. I can’t comment on players from other teams.”
This begs two obvious questions; firstly: who is on West Ham’s 10-man transfer hit list and secondly: which of the ten should they attempt to sign during the summer window? Hoping to shed some light on the Irons’ transfer plans, we’ve combined recent reports to reveal the strikers believed to be on the club’s radar…
Wilfried Bony is a forgotten man at Manchester City, finding just ten goals across all competitions during his 15-month Etihad stint, but he thoroughly excelled at former club Swansea, combining power, technique and style to bag 25 goals in 54 Premier League outings.
The Ivory Coast international still has plenty of years ahead of him at the age of 27 and comes with proven pedigree in the top flight. Furthermore, a move during the summer transfer window seems largely inevitable and most sources have valued the 6 foot frontman at a reasonable £15million.
Source: The Guardian
Ayoze Perez may not be the most potent of goal scorers, bagging just 13 since arriving in the Premier League at the start of last season, but the Spaniard has demonstrated his enormous potential on countless occasions and would likely be amassing far more impressive hauls playing in a side who aren’t constantly scrapping it out at the foot of the table.
Indeed, the 22-year-old offers nomadic movement, technical flair and two incredibly quick feet that have attracted interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona in the past. He’s more support striker than a line-leading centre-forward but if relegation forces Newcastle United to sell on the cheap, West Ham would be wise to swoop regardless. A £10million fee is certainly in the right ballpark.
Source: Brentwood Gazette
Odion Ighalo fired Watford to the top flight last season with 20 Championship strikes and has continued to impress in the Premier League, netting 14 times in the league as well as the opener against Arsenal in last month’s FA Cup quarter-final win.
The Nigerian international is far more poacher than target man, famed for his predatory instincts over physical prowess, and rumour has it the Hornets are already preparing to sell during the summer with Isaac Success lined up as his replacement.
But the £15million-rated striker’s dip in form during the second half of the season, failing to find the net in the Premier League since January, is a noteworthy concern.
Source: The Sun
Michy Batshuayi is high on West Ham’s transfer hit list, with some sources even dubbing him their ‘priority target’, and it’s not hard to see why. The prodigious forward simply hasn’t looked back since making his debut for Standard Leige in 2011, going on to claim 62 goals in 154 league appearances for the Belgian outfit and current employers Marseille.
That includes a scintillating haul of 14 goals and nine assists in 31 Ligue 1 appearances this season, for a Marseille side languishing in mid-table, and the Belgium international’s mix of power, speed and aerial ability suggests he’d thrive in the overtly physical Premier League.
But interest in the 22-year-old is high ahead of the summer transfer window, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs amongst the clubs currently linked with Batshuayi – who is expected to cost between £15million and £25million.
Theo Walcott has spent much of his Arsenal career battling Arsene Wenger to become out-and-out centre-forward and that’s the chance Slaven Bilic is reportedly willing to offer the England speedster at West Ham.
The 27-year-old’s career return of 85 goals in 337 appearances, including nine strikes this season, may not be so inspiring and in truth, the winger-forward has rarely capitalised on the occasional opportunities in which he’s been deployed up front.
But Walcott’s penetrative pace can be devastating if used correctly and his finishing has steadily improved over the years. If Bilic can form the right attacking dynamics to create space for the 43-cap international behind opposing defences, he could consistently reach double figures in the scoring charts.
Source: Brentwood Gazette
An incredible haul of 31 goals across all competitions saw Alexandre Lacazette claim Ligue 1’s Player of the Year award last season and although he’s not quite rekindled that form during the current campaign, notching up 16 strikes in 28 league outings, the France international remains in the transfer thoughts of Europe’s biggest clubs.
The French assassin can operate wide or centrally, is laden with natural athleticism and may still be a few years away from his footballing peak at the age of 24, so swooping in the summer could save West Ham a small fortune compared to Lacazette’s potential worth in two or three seasons’ time.
Even so, and although a Lyon exit is likely this summer, widespread interest in Lacazette will allow the Ligue 1 club to charge upwards of £25million – especially considering his contract doesn’t expire until 2019.
Source: The Telegraph
Somewhat of a dark horse in the race to become West Ham’s star striker, speculative reports have linked the East London club with former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, who has recorded a decent if unspectacular eight goals and five assists in 20 Serie A stars since moving to Roma last summer.
Indeed, it’s not quite worked out for the Bosnian international in Italy and he’s now slightly beyond his footballing peak at the age of 30. But the 6 foot 4 target man offers proven pedigree in the Premier League, helping fire City to two league titles with a return of 72 goals in 189 appearances.
Dzeko’s a decent choice if Slaven Bilic wants to implement a more direct style of football next season and Roma might be tempted to sell following an underwhelming debut campaign. The Stadio Olimpico outfit bought him for €15million last summer.
Source: Brentwood Gazette
West Ham are one of the clubs in the mix to sign West Brom’s stroppy striker Saido Berahino and if the East London club can match the youngster’s almighty ambitions, he could prove to be a very wise long-term investment.
Indeed, the 22-year-old has found just three Premier League goals this season, amid a campaign thwarted by behind-the-scenes bust-ups at the Hawthorns, but he netted an impressive 14 times last term – regularly demonstrating prodigious finishing ability, direct dribbling and fluid movement around the final third.
The Baggies are finally set to sell in the coming transfer window – following the Tottenham Hotspur debacle last summer – but still value their prized asset at around £20million, which is rather steep considering his contract expires at the end of next season.
Source: Mirror Football
It simply hasn’t worked out for Christian Benteke at Liverpool, deemed a poor fit for the club’s high-pressing philosophy by gegenpressing enthusiast Jurgen Klopp. But it wasn’t long ago the beastly Belgian was arguably the most formidable target man in the Premier League, amassing 49 goals across three campaigns with an incredibly poor Aston Villa side.
Benteke possesses all the requisites to continue scoring consistently in the Premier League, blending an enormous leap with power, pace and two decent feet, and at 25 years of age still has plenty of time to resurrect his stuttering career.
Klopp’s complete contempt towards the 24-cap international will give West Ham the upper hand around the negotiating table. But Liverpool still want around £25million for their strike flop and if Benteke’s struggles at Anfield have proved anything, it’s that he’s only compatible with certain styles of play.
Many have dubbed it as simply tabloid rumour mongering but with the new television deal coming into effect, West Ham challenging for a Champions League spot and about to embark upon a move to the Olympic Stadium, it feels as if nothing is truly impossible for the East London club at the moment.
That includes a swoop for arguably the greatest striker of his generation in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has just fired PSG to a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title through an incredible haul of 144 goals in 170 appearances, following equally affluent spells with Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and AC Milan.
The 34-year-old’s Parc de Princes contract expires this summer and the majority of speculation has suggested he’ll move to the Premier League on a free transfer, with West Ham the rank outsiders for his signature.
No transfer fee will allow the Hammers to spend more on wages, but the enigmatic Swede is reportedly demanding £600k per week – an unaffordable sum for most clubs throughout world football.