Allardyce eager for Hugo Almeida to arrive at Upton Park
West Ham, 13/5 for a top ten finish next season, are reportedly still on the hunt for a new striker, despite the recent capture of Ecuador star Enner Valencia. Record signing Andy Carroll tore ligaments in his ankle during the Hammers’ pre-season tour of New Zealand, which has promopted boss Sam Allardyce to review his attacking options.
Carroll arrived from Liverpool at Upton Park for £15m on a permanent deal last season, after impressing manager Allardyce during a loan stint. The Newcastle-born battering ram made only 15 league appearances last term, missing most of the campaign due to a foot injury.
With a lack of choices up front, Allardyce is now set to turn to Portugal target man Hugo Almeida to solve his forward conundrum.
Almeida currently plies his trade in Turkey for Besiktas, though former Croatia coach Slaven Bilic is apparently ready to sell the striker for the right price.
Besiktas director Onder Ozen recently revealed there are financial motives behind the Turkish giants’ willingness to discuss a potential transfer: “We need to restructure…and negotiate a more reasonable contract deal with him…we will consider offers for Almeida, especially if we can’t reach an agreement regarding his wages.”
Allardyce and the Hammers have long been linked with a swoop for Almeida, who netted 15 times in 33 outings for his current club last season. Interest appeared to have cooled until injury issues with Carroll caused rumours to resurface, and Besiktas’ apparent willingness to talk will be a boost for the east Londoners.
Standing at 6ft 3 inches, Almeida would certainly be able to replace Carroll’s strength, presence and aerial threat in the box.
The former Porto and Werder Bremen forward, 30, would also bring a wealth of experience to the Hammers, having tasted silverware success in Besiktas’ Turkish Cup 2010-11 win. The moustached centre forward has also lifted the Portuguese league trophy and the Taca de Portugal, during his time at the Estadio do Dragao.
Almeida did endure a disappointing World Cup campaign with Portugal, though, who crashed out at the group stage. The forward failed to find the net, and was forced off through injury in his nation’s opening match, as the Navigators were smashed 4-0 by eventual winners Germany.
West Ham, 5/1 to be relegated, are hoping to improve on last term’s 13th place Premier League finish, with Allardyce keen to add firepower to his squad after the Hammers only netted 40 times in 38 games.
If Allardyce can tempt Almeida, who has previously admitted: “It is no secret…I would like to play in England or Spain sometime” to Upton Park, the striker would become his fifth signing of the summer.
Left back Aaron Cresswell, attacking starlet Diego Poyet, former Birmingham forward Mauro Zarate, midfield anchor Cheikhou Kouyate and Colombia World Cup star Enner Valencia have already opted to join Allardyce in East London this summer, forming an exciting new-look squad.