Five hitmen for the Hammers to cover Enner Valencia injury
West Ham United, tempting odds of 2/1 with Coral for a top 10 finish, are advertising for a new striker following Ecuador international Enner Valencia’s unfortunate and ill-timed injury.
The forward was stretchered off in the Hammers’ Europa League qualifier against Astra Giurgiu so, with the squad already set to be stretched over four competitions, a new sharpshooter is essential.
Co-owner David Gold told press “we’ve lost Valencia for the beginning of the season. We were already believing that we required another striker…we’ll be doing everything in our power to bring in the best players that we can.”
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Although Valencia is a flexible forward able to be deployed dangerously across the front line, new boss Slaven Bilic has experimented with variations of a 4-4-2 during pre-season, always sticking to two up top.
With that in mind, it is no wonder West Ham, 20/1 for a top six finish, are one of the many sides linked to a swoop for proven Premier League predator Austin. The Englishman has an undoubted nose for goal and injuries to both Valencia and Andy Carroll could force the Hammers to finally stump up the cash for his signature.
The powerful and pacey 22-year-old should fit the Premier League like a glove but is far from the finished article, which the Upton Park hierarchy should bear in mind before shouldering the youngster with the goal burden.
If Austin is a target, why not make overtures for younger Berahino at a similar price? Tottenham and Newcastle United are the rumoured competition, but Upton Park would be a safer bet than either.
The Burundi-born England Under-21 attacker has an arguably higher ceiling than compatriot Austin, and his flexibility and workrate makes him a much better replacement for Valencia to partner Diafra Sakho.
Away from the goldfish bowls of both Spurs and the Magpies, the 21-year-old could really develop his shooting boots under Bilic.
Still, the promising poacher showed glimpses of his class at the Copa America and could be a revelation with less competition in his path at Upton Park. Compatriot Javier Hernanadez would be a more expensive yet experienced option, though any move will have to wait until the hitman regains fitness.
Mercurial Michu has shown he can dazzle at this level before, but his relationship with Swansea has clearly soured. The last thing the Hammers need is another attacker on the treatment table but, if they can keep the Spaniard, currently negotiating an exit from Garry Monk’s men, fit, they would have quite the forward on their hands.