West Ham: Two "very close" to signing; left-back solution found; competition for striker
The Evening Standard claim that Slaven Bilic told the media after a friendly defeat to Juventus that two signings were now “very close” to completion. The Standard believe that one of those is Swansea striker Andre Ayew, who is rumoured to be nearing a £20 million switch to the Olympic Stadium to finally ease the striker headache for the Hammers.
Having scored 12 in his debut season at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea went through a disappointing season on the whole, Ayew could really excel in a strong and attacking side like West Ham. It is clear that the Ghana international has the quality to prove a success in the Premier League, and whilst £20 million is far from cheap, at 26 and with Premier League experience, he seems a bargain compared to some other targets linked with a move to London this summer.
The other player who the Standard believe is close to putting pen to paper on a West Ham contract is Arthur Masuaku, who is set to provide cover in the absence of Aaron Cresswell. The 22-year-old Frenchman is reportedly in London to complete a medical before sealing a move to London from reigning Greek champions Olympiakos.
For the Irons, securing a young player with potential like Masuaku will be an exciting addition, particularly when you consider that he has Champions League experience and a number of Greek titles to his name since his move from France two years ago. For a fee of £6 million, it could prove to be a real bargain addition for the Hammers as a player who will provide strong competition to Cresswell upon his return.
However, some sources claim that Masuaku is not the solution that the Hammers are hoping for, and that a deal for Palermo left back Achraf Lazaar is the real priority. HITC claim that Italian reports say that the 24 year old has already agreed personal terms and a deal is close to being announced with a fee of £3.3 million the most likely price agreed between the two clubs.
It would seem at first appearance that the Evening Standard is the more reliable of the two stories, with a number of sources reporting that Masuaku is the top target for West Ham having missed out on Martin Olsson, Andrew Robertson and having seen Davide Santon fail a medical. However, the Moroccan Lazaar would also be a good addition for the Irons should this report be correct, similar in many ways to Masuaku, only lacking some of the top level experience that the Frenchman offers.
The Croydon Advertiser are also reporting on claims that Crystal Palace, Southampton, Everton and West Ham are set to battle it out for Sporting striker Islam Slimani. The 28-year-old Algerian scored 27 league goals in 33 games last term and has attracted attention from across Europe, with a price tag of £17 million to £20 million on his head.
Despite his good record in the Portuguese league, he has struggled in Europe, managing just three goals in sixteen games in the Champions League and Europa League, which may persuade the Irons to look elsewhere. With age not on Slimani’s side, he may be prolific in Portugal, but the Hammers are looking for an immediate solution to their lack of strikers, and Slimani may well take time to adapt which Slaven Bilic cannot afford to wait for.
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