Monday 27 January 2020

The man behind Euro 2016's funniest moment is close to coming to the Premier League

Mark Mann-Bryans

West Ham could add either Wilfried Bony or Simone Zaza to their squad as the search for another forward drags on with the transfer deadline now in sight.

The Hammers have been looking to recruit a new striker throughout the summer, but their need has grown after injuries to three of their current attacking options.

Diafra Sakho, who failed a medical at West Brom and remains at West Ham, is not fit while Andy Carroll's injury woes continue as he could miss up to six weeks with a knee problem.

Club-record signing Andre Ayew was injured on his debut at Chelsea in the opening Premier League game of the campaign and faces a four-month lay-off.

Manager Slaven Bilic takes his side into the Europa League play-off clash against Astra Giurgiu of Romania on Thursday night with the tie finely poised at 1-1 following the first leg.

And he revealed in the build-up to the meeting at the London Stadium that Manchester City's Bony is of interest.

Bony has struggled for game-time since a big-money move to the Etihad Stadium in 2015 and was recently omitted from Pep Guardiola's Champions League squad for the qualifier against Steaua Bucharest.

Asked about a potential move for the former Swansea man, Bilic replied: "He is a good player. He is an option because he plays in the position where, even before the injuries, we tried to sign a player - he is a centre-forward."

But he added: "I don't negotiate. I'm just the manager. I just say to the chairmen and (chief scout) Tony Henry, we talk and then they do it."

While Bony is an option, Zaza, whose father was quoted on Tuesday as saying the player is "seriously considering" a move to West Ham, is a long-term target of Bilic.

Zaza was widely panned for his bizarre penalty run-up during Italy's quarter-final shootout loss to Germany at Euro 2016, but that hasn't put Bilic off the attacker.

"I'm not going to tell you the details, but we have been linked with Zaza last year also, last summer," he said.

"He's a top player and I like him. I was here last year so it tells you everything and we were in contact with him last year - it didn't happen. We will see if it does this year in the next few days.

"We have a couple of players that we are going to try to do a deal for. But we are in the period that a lot of our players, especially the offensive players, are out injured.

"Some of them long term, some of them short term, and now in this very moment we're going to be short of numbers and short of quality. But then after that we have the international break and after that some of them should be back, so in terms of signings we are not panicking."

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