With the European football transfer window in full swing, it’s clear that West Ham were always after a big, burly target man.
The less said about Marko Arnautovic the better, but the Austrian’s departure has left a gaping hole up front for the Hammers.
With Andy Carroll also released, Manuel Pellegrini was, at one point, looking at having Chicharito Hernandez +1 as his strike force at this point.
Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez seemed to be on the verge of putting pen to paper, especially once the delegation from the east London club had flown out to Galicia with the express intention of not returning without the player’s signature.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened as Gomez preferred to stay in Spain with Valencia.
- Wolves are in talks to sign Sami Khedira and Moise Kean
- Everton are willing to bid £70m to sign Wilfried Zaha
- Xavi Simons is on €1 million-per-year at PSG
West Ham have always done well with a target man, and a sharper, smaller striker alongside. John Hartson and Dean Ashton spring immediately to mind, two players who were heroes to the east end faithful.
That’s why they went looking for Sebastien Haller, even at a club record £45m, because he’s a centre-forward who’ll get them believing again.
Pellegrini isn’t too far away from building a side that can finally crack Europe, but there are one or two more additions that he needs.
The news that Diego Costa is also available should see West Ham beating a path to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Costa might be 30 now, but he’s lost none of the fire that made him a fearsome competitor at Chelsea.
Loathed by opposition players and loved by his own, he would be an instant hit for the Hammers, and is a perfect fit. His style would be complementary to that of Haller’s too.
Given that he’s keen to follow the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez et al out of the red and white half of Madrid, negotiations for the player shouldn’t be too fraught.
Importantly too, Costa has already put down roots in London so the Hammers have an advantage over other clubs that are showing an interest.
Having only scored five league goals since he returned to Atleti in January 2018, one might be tempted to dismiss what the Spanish-Brazilian has to offer, but it’s important to factor in suspensions and injuries, as well as the fact that he was often playing second fiddle to the French World Cup winner.
Being one of the bigger fish in a smaller pond is likely to appeal to the striker’s nature and that’s exactly how the club must sell their vision to him.
He will, without doubt, be the main man and, with form likely to return after such a confidence boost, a recall to the Spanish national team might not be out of the question too.
His transfer fee is unlikely to prove prohibitive, and if the deal can be done then West Ham must act decisively.
Di Canio… Payet… Costa? Yes, he’s in that bracket. A player that will galvanise all those around him, pushing them to even greater heights.
If Messrs. Gold and Sullivan really do have European ambitions for their club, then there is simply no excuse for not picking up a player that will almost certainly prove to be the missing link that gets them there.