West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Weekend hat-trick prompts Serie A club to pull plug on star’s proposed €20m West Ham move

Rob McCarthy
West Ham target Antonin Barak

West Ham have seemingly suffered a body blow to their hopes of signing an attacking midfielder this month after Serie A side Hellas Verona did a U-turn over Antonin Barak’s proposed sale.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported earlier in the month that the Hammers could swoop for the player in the January transfer window, with Barak costing around €20million to bring him to the Premier League.

The Czech Republic star, who plays alongside Hammers duo Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal for the national team, missed game time through illness and a back issue last month. However, that did not stop talk of him leaving Verona after an impressive first half of the season.

Calciomercato claims that David Moyes had ‘pushed forward’ his interest in the player, with Verona initially ready to do business.

However, Barak made his first start in some time against Sasoulo at the weekend and was back with a bang.

The 27-year-old scored a hat-trick and registered an assist as Verona sealed a 4-2 win. That takes him to eight goals for the season, as well as four assists, in 18 matches.

Speaking after the game, Barak admitted he is purely focused on playing and not reports of a move.

Gabriel Barbosa wants Premier League move with West Ham favourites

Gabriel Barbosa has told Flamengo he wants to leave and move to the Premier League

And now Calciomercato adds that Verona have had a rethink and want to keep the player until the end of the season.

A summer move remains a possibility, although an increase in goals and assists is likely to see Barak’s value rise, while it may also mean more clubs taking an interest in the West Ham target.

How many points Newcastle may need to stay in the Premier League – 40 not the magic number

Moyes pushing hard for Championship hotshot

Meanwhile, David Moyes is reportedly pushing hard to secure the signing of Chile forward Ben Brereton Diaz this month as he looks to cement West Ham’s push for fourth.

The Hammers are having one of the best seasons in their recent history. Indeed, they are building on last seasons sixth-place finish, and are currently fourth in the Premier League.

Despite the top season the Hammers are having, they have slipped up a few times of late. They have lost to both Leeds and Southampton since Christmas.

While the squad has been hindered by injuries in a few departments, one of those stands out from the rest, that being the central striker.

Ben Brereton Diaz, Blackburn goal celeb during EFL match against Derby County

Michail Antonio is the only senior No.9 at the club, and when injured is replaced by a winger. Should West Ham have another pure goalscorer in their ranks, they could cut out the tight losses they have endured.

As such, the Hammers are reportedly tracking Blackburn forward Brereton Diaz, per Hammers.News.

The Chile international has scored 20 goals in 26 Championship games this season. Furthermore, he has begun to prove himself on the international stage, scoring three goals in nine Chile appearances.

Indeed, Brereton Diaz seems capable of making the step up to the Premier League. What’s more, the Hammers would not have to rely on Antonio staying fit, should they sign the 22-year-old.

West Ham are rivalled by Leeds United and Brighton in the pursuit of the Championship’s second-top scorer.

Blackburn have reportedly put a £30million price tag on their talisman, as they clearly do not want to lose the forward on the cheap.

Brereton Diaz not only problem fix Hammers want

Also at West Ham, injuries to Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna have significantly weakened the defence. As such, Moyes’ side are keen on strengthening with a January signing.

The Hammers are reportedly keen on Fenerbahce’s Attila Szalai, but are joined by Newcastle United in that pursuit.

The Hungary international was a major target of Chelsea’s last year, but that deal never materialised.

However, Szalai is clearly a capable defender, and would potentially be a good transfer for West Ham.

READ MORE: West Ham face potential transfer battle with Burnley for Liverpool man after losing target