West Ham linked with Mainz star Shinji Okazaki

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FSV Mainz 05 star Shinji Okazaki is being chased by numerous Premier League clubs, according to German sources.

The German newspaper Bild has reported that scouts from West Ham United and other English clubs were spotted at his last match.

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Okazaki has scored five goals this season for Mainz who are riding high at the moment in the Bundesliga, sitting in fifth place.

The Japan International is contracted at the club until the summer of 2016 but the German side could be tempted to cash in for the 28 year-old in the next window if the right offer is made.

Valued at €5.5 million, Mainz could accept offers for around 8- 10 million euros.

Okazaki ability

Before arriving at Mainz in 2013, Okazaki played elsewhere in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart. He impressed at his previous side, Shimizu S-Pulse in the J League where he scored 42 goals in 121 appearances.

When he arrived in Germany in 2011, he struggled to adapt and scored just 10 goals in 63 games. However since making his second move, Okazaki has burst on the scene and has started to replicate his International form with more goals.

In the last year, the number 23 has scored 39 goals in 79 games – averaging a goal every other game.

This season he has taken the headlines by scoring some crucial goals for the club including against Borussia Dortmund.

He now leads the goal scoring charts with five this season, ahead of Robert Lewandowski, and that is why the Japanese striker is gathering attention.

Hammers interest

West Ham United have been identified as one of the key clubs interested in the striker despite spending a large sum of their transfer budget on attackers in the summer.

The Hammers brought in former Palermo striker Enner Valencia for £12 million and former Birmingham City forward Mauro Zarate for an undisclosed fee.

The club are also disposed with other attacking options including Diafra Sakho, Ricardo Vaz Te and England striker, Andy Carroll who is yet to return from injury.

Strong performances

Sam Allardyce’s side have made a solid start to the new season having won three games already and are seventh in the table.

Last season the fans were crying out for Big Sam to leave but these cries have been muted by the strong performances made by the team this season.

Alex Song and Morgan Amalfitano have made an impact in the Hammers' midfield and perhaps it is the fresh faces that are encouraging these strong performances. This could be the reason why the club are looking into the purchase of Okazaki, who would support the club’s claim for a European place.

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