West Ham efforts to lure back attacking favourite meet Everton hurdle
The desire of West Ham to bolster their attacking ranks with a former favourite could be tested after Everton reportedly joined the Premier League three-way race.
West Ham are in the midst of their finest season yet in Premier League history. The Hammers retain strong hopes of securing a maiden Champions League campaign come season’s end. Even if David Moyes’ men fall short, the campaign would represent significant progress.
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The club’s achievements are all the more remarkable given their relative dearth of options up front.
Michail Antonio has performed superbly as a makeshift centre-forward, but has missed 12 of 34 league matches through persistent injury struggles.
The January departure of Sebastien Haller reduced their no.9 options further, leading to a raft of speculation a striker would arrive.
With European football seemingly inevitable, Moyes will require at least one more option to spearhead his attack. Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham was identified as an option, though the club’s board may have stepped in to block any approach.
Now, according to online outlet Sport Witness (citing Italian newspaper Il Resto del Carlino), West Ham’s attentions have turned to a familiar face to solve the issue.
They state that the Hammers have ‘already made an enquiry’ for former frontman Marko Arnautovic.
The veteran Austrian, 32, performed a similar role to Antonio during his two years with the club. Operating at better than one goal in three, Arnautovic became a favourite with West Ham fans while pushed further forward.
The forward left under a dark cloud after declaring his desire to leave in 2019. However, amid a scaling back of spending in the Chinese Super League, Arnautovic is being strongly tipped to depart Shanghai SIPG this summer.
Crystal Palace are also stated to be in the mix, though greater competition could come from Everton.
A second report details the viability of a Merseyside move after Everton were revealed to be one of the club’s Arnautovic’s agent spoke with in January.
Serie A side Bologna are described as ‘ready to make their move’ to land the forward, meaning the Prem trio will have to act fast if Arnautovic is to grace the Premier League once again.
Chelsea experience key in doomed West Ham approach
Meanwhile, West Ham have effectively been told to forget about making a renewed move for January target Youssef En-Nesyri after the Sevilla striker admitted he wasn’t cut out for life in England.
The Moroccan emerged as a winter window target to replace the outgoing Haller.
Sevilla were reluctant to sell at the time, but now it appears their stance on a sale has changed. Indeed, the La Liga side appear open to the idea of a €40m (£36m) sale.
All the same, En-Nesyri himself has strongly suggested he does not fancy a move to England. Speaking to ABC Sevilla, he has revealed he previously spent time on trial with Chelsea. However, he says he could not stand the cold weather and turned his back on a prospective move.
“I went to Chelsea and stayed there for three weeks,” En-Nesyri said. “It was very cold, and I went back to Morocco; I couldn’t take it anymore.
“I went back to the Mohammed VI Academy, and we played some games against Sevilla, Malaga and Almería. That’s when Malaga saw me, and they decided to sign me.”
READ MORE: West Ham open talks over €20m-rated striker wanted by quartet of clubs
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