West Ham: Striker announcement imminent; Aston Villa target forward; Adrian called up

A deal for Simone Zaza has been almost completed as the Italian forward flew to London on Friday night to undergo a medical this weekend ahead of a loan move, with a £24 million right to buy clause included, claim the Guardian. The signing will most likely put an end to the Hammers striker search which has been ongoing since before last season even ended, with a number of targets rejecting the club before the Juventus man agreed to the switch.

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The deal was suddenly cast into doubt after the club’s failure to qualify for the Europa League, but Slaven Bilic has since spoken to calm those fears and insisted that the deal is nearing completion. Zaza will bring experience from the very top level which is sorely lacking in the West Ham squad, and will hope to replicate his goals coring form from his Sassuolo days, having missed out on regular first team football in Turin last season.

The Daily Star claim that this may go half way to sparking a move for Enner Valencia to Aston Villa, should Wilfried Bony also join on loan or should other strikers in the Irons squad show signs of recovering from injury quicker than expected. Villa have already had a bid rejected, but may come back with a new offer if West Ham indicate that they could be open to offers for the Ecuadorian.

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Valencia was made available at the start of the summer, with a price tag of at least £12 million, the fee that he was signed for by the club in 2014. However, having made only 19 league appearances last season and only figuring this term due to the vast number of injuries, it seems that his future lies away from the London Stadium, with Villa Park his most likely destination as the Villains seek to add to the signing of Ross McCormack upfront.

There has been a boost for the club too as popular Spanish goalkeeper Adrian has earned his first call-up to the Spain squad by new boss Julian Lopetegui, in favour of the likes of Iker Casillas. Adrian has been on the fringes of the national team for a while now, impressing with his performances in the Premier League, but was neglected by former boss Vicente del Bosque, and has gone straight into the first squad of the new man in charge, announced yesterday.

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Likely to compete with former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina for the second choice role behind David de Gea, the 29-year-old expressed shock at having been called up, telling the Evening Standard:

“When I finished training on Thursday I got back to the dressing room and checked my phone, I had 360 WhatsApp messages, emails, texts and missed Facetime calls!”

The former Real Betis goalkeeper will now seek to stake his claim on the international stage and the Hammers will be pleased to see their name being spread worldwide with international recognition for one of their most important players.

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