Tuesday 21 November 2017

Hammers set to swoop for £10m Ireland target

Brentford's Scott Hogan. Photo: Harry Murphy/Getty Images
Brentford's Scott Hogan. Photo: Harry Murphy/Getty Images

Tom Rooney and Matt Law

Brentford striker Scott Hogan - who has previously resisted the advances of Martin O'Neill but is still being courted by the FAI - is understood to be on the cusp of a £10m move to West Ham.

Hogan qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents, and has scored 14 goals in 25 Championship appearances this season - a run of form that has attracted the attention of a number of top-flight clubs.

West Ham are said to have had a £7m bid for the 24-year-old turned down but are willing to up their offer to land the attacker during the transfer window.

The Hammers have already seen their move for Sunderland's Jermain Defoe rejected as they seek to add reinforcements for the second-half of the season.

Hogan arrived at Brentford from Rochdale on a three-year deal in 2014, but saw his first campaign curtailed by an ankle injury. He then suffered two anterior cruciate ligament injuries to the same knee and required multiple surgeries and almost two years to recover.

Since regaining fitness, he has impressed with his finishing, including a brace against Preston in September as O'Neill looked on, and signed a one-year extension last April.

Hogan had declined a call-up from O'Neill, stating that he wished to concentrate on his club duties after such a long lay-off, but the former Celtic boss is hopeful he can be convinced to supplement Ireland's meagre striking options.

Brentford team-mate and Ireland midfielder Alan Judge has said that Hogan is not being deliberately evasive and believes that he will eventually don the green jersey.

"I think he will come and play for us, he's not stalling for a better offer, he has the right to take his time after two years of hell with injury," said Judge.

Defoe had been West Ham's primary target and Sunderland may still face a battle to hang on to their top scorer with the Hammers poised to improve their £6m bid that was rejected by the Wearsiders.

The Londoners have been told the striker is keen to return to the club and make amends with fans he infuriated in 2003. Relegation-haunted Sunderland want to hang on to Defoe this month, but a West Ham offer of about £15m may force them to consider letting the 34-year-old go.

Defoe infamously handed in a written transfer request less than 24 hours after West Ham's relegation had been confirmed 14 years ago, prompting stinging criticism from team-mates and fans. He later apologised, but refused to sign a new contract and moved to West Ham's bitter rivals Tottenham in January 2004.

Defoe made 105 appearances for West Ham in five years at the start of his career, scoring 41 goals. He has gone on to be one of the Premier League's most prolific strikers and has scored 11 top-flight goals this season.

Losing Defoe would be a major blow to Sunderland's hopes of staying up, but manager David Moyes may face the choice of cashing in on the player or denying him a move he wants.

Chelsea's reluctance to let Michy Batshuayi go out on loan and Manchester United's refusal to send Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial to the London Stadium for the rest of the season has led West Ham to weigh up moves for both Hogan and Defoe.

West Ham are also looking to sign a right-back this month, with Tottenham's Kieran Trippier on their radar.

Irish Independent

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