West Ham have been heavily linked with Sporting Lisbon forward Islam Slimani as we approach the January transfer window, but the striker shouldn’t be at the top of their wish list.
The Algeria international was in high demand during the summer window after his exploits at the World Cup, where he scored twice in his side’s impressive run to the last-16.
But, with three strikers having already recently joined the Hammers and taken to the Premier League so well, is another forward really what they need?
STRENGTH IN DEPTH
Undoubtedly the signing of Slimani would bring even more strength and quality to West Ham’s front line, he has Champions League experience and has scored twice in six appearances in the competition this term.
He also has six goals in 10 league appearances for Sporting and Sam Allardyce is reportedly a big fan of the player.
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However, the Portuguese outfit want at least £8million for the 26-year-old, which is a lot of money for the Hammers to fork out on an unproven Premier League player, especially when they are already so strong in the striker department.
With Ricardo Vaz Te and Carlton Cole’s days looking numbered at Upton Park, Slimani would be a good replacement, but West Ham won’t get anywhere near the amount needed to buy him from selling those two.
Furthermore, they already have quality forwards in Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia, Andy Carroll and Mauro Zarate so the money they would spend on him they could use on an area in more need of strengthening – like the defence, for example.
Allardyce’s interest in the front man could, though, be a reflection of his fears that Carroll won’t remain fit for the entire campaign, which could seriously hinder their European ambitions although they still have plenty of alternatives.
If Slimani was to be brought in to fill the void left by Sakho’s departure to represent Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations in January then the deal may make more sense, however the Algerian is also set to play in the tournament.
In my view I can’t see West Ham spending any more money on strikers, especially in January, however if he continues to show good form for club and country perhaps Allardyce could return for him in the summer.
Until then, though, the club’s priority should be a quality centre-back with Winston Reid’s future still uncertain.