West Ham United will be backing David Moyes into a corner by pursuing Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz, now said to be a January target for the London Stadium natives.
According to Defensa Central, the Irons are keen to bolster Moyes’ offensive line in the winter market and will turn attentions to the Santiago Bernabeu looking to pursue deals for either Mariano or his Los Blancos teammate Luka Jovic.
Zinedine Zidane has no faith in either forward and has totally abandoned any thought of fielding the pair during Real’s La Liga fixtures, with Mariano given a mere 14 minutes and Jovic featuring for 149 minutes thus far this season.
The Galacticos hierarchy are expected to listen kindly to approaches for the pair once the market opens, with Madrid keen to see Jovic play regular football again while out on loan as the Serbian’s potential far eclipses that of Mariano’s.
Mariano has often been reluctant to leave Madrid despite his outcast status, with the Dominican Republic striker Real are eager to sell rejecting a potential move to Benfica this summer as the Liga NOS giants could only offer a €2.5m-a-year (£43,105-p/w) contract when he requested a €5m-a/y (£86,211-p/w) deal.
His future at the Santiago Bernabeu was thought to have been determined by only playing five league games last season and Zidane stating he had no need for the 27-year-old, after being the only outfield player not to feature in their pre-season tour of the United States.
“I have no plans for him. We train, he hasn’t played,” the French icon said, via quotes by AS.
Mariano has the potential to reignite his career in east London by joining West Ham with a point to prove, with Marca journalist Hugo Cerezo claiming the £10.8m-rated forward is the sort of player who can go months without regular game time and yet pop up and strike key goals.
“Some players are made up of different stuff. Some live and die for goals regardless of whether or not they play a lot,” Cerezo said earlier this year, in a brutal attack on Zidane for his mismanagement of the striker.
“They are capable of playing just 44 minutes all season, of being included in just four of the 38 matchday squads and of then going onto the pitch and killing off a Clasico. Mariano Diaz is one of these players.
“Zidane couldn’t have been more unfair to Mariano. He hasn’t given him half a chance despite the problems Real Madrid have had scoring goals.”
Moyes no doubt could benefit from having additional weapons at his disposal capable of stepping onto the field and firing home when needed the most, with Michail Antonio (3), Jarrod Bowen (3) and Pablo Fornals (2) so far the only men to have scored more than once in the Premier League this term.
But at £86k-p/w, Mariano will not expect to simply arrive in England to sit on the bench at the London Stadium, and Moyes should not either with the Dominican forward’s salary demands enough for the Madrid outcast to sit as the fourth-highest earner at West Ham.
The Hammers would simply be backing Moyes into a corner and forcing the Scottish coach to start Mariano if he is signed in January, though his slack output for Madrid – five goals in the last four La Liga seasons – would raise serious doubt over his potential to displace Antonio.