West Ham may have to fend off Spanish giants Barcelona if they want to land a Netherlands international this summer, per a report.
The London club have been in the market for a new striker ever since they allowed Sebastien Haller to join Ajax in January. They sold him for just £20million following a disappointing spell at the London Stadium. That fee represented a £25m hit on the 27-year-old, who was originally brought to England from Frankfurt two years ago.
Michail Antonio is David Moyes’ only option at centre-forward. The Scot can rely on Jarrod Bowen, Andriy Yarmolenko and Said Benrahma just behind, but there is no direct backup for the English goalscorer.
Antonio got off the mark for the new campaign with a goal in the 4-2 victory against Newcastle United.
He looks set to start against Community Shield winners Leicester City on Monday evening. However, the Englishman is known for hamstring problems, meaning Moyes will be desperately searching for a new attacker.
One man they could turn to is Sevilla’s Luuk De Jong. The Spanish club recently signed Rafa Mir from Wolves, which has pushed De Jong down the pecking order.
He could be sold this summer in a bid to get more game time elsewhere.
Reports on Thursday suggested that De Jong is on West Ham’s list of potential targets, although they are yet to make an official approach.
Should they launch an offer, then they might get involved in a bidding war with Barcelona.
Spanish outlet Sport (via Football Espana) claim that De Jong could be an option for Ronald Koeman this month.
The Blaugrana are hoping to sign attacking reinforcements after Lionel Messi sealed his switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
Sergio Aguero arrived at the Camp Nou earlier this year but is set to be out for nine weeks due to injury.
De Jong would represent a short-term option for Koeman, who can also utilise Martin Braithwaite.
It must be noted that Barcelona’s financial situation means they cannot spend big. President Joan Laporta is hoping to find a solution after revealing that the club’s debts are nearing €1bn.
As such, West Ham are likely to have the upper hand as the chase for De Jong begins.
The Dutch international, who has been capped 38 times, already has experience playing in the Premier League.
He joined Newcastle on loan in January 2014 but couldn’t find the net in 12 appearances.
It’s hoped that his second spell in England would be far more successful.
West Ham agree fee for Zouma
While West Ham’s pursuit of De Jong is in its early stages, they are closing in on Kurt Zouma.
The Hammers have reportedly agreed a £25.7m fee with Chelsea for the Frenchman.
They now need to sort out personal terms with the player, which could prove problematic.
Zouma wants to be compensated for his move with a £125,000-a-week contract. That would make him West Ham’s top earner, ahead of Andriy Yarmolenko and Jarrod Bowen.