West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

West Ham join busy battle for striker subject of ambitious nine-figure theory

Darwin Nunez battling Manuel Ugarte

West Ham are now among the contenders for Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, according to reports originating from Portugal.

Centre-forward has been an obvious position for West Ham to strengthen for the best part of a year. Michail Antonio is doing a brilliant job of leading the line. However, there have been no real alternatives since the sale of Sebastien Haller in January 2021.

The London-based club have been working to rectify that issue ever since, but without success. Now, they will be trying again next month.

A number of options remain on their radar. The issue is whether they will be able to convince anyone to compete with the in-form Antonio. On the flipside, the fact they are involved in European football may be helping them attract some better talents.

The in-demand Nunez would certainly be an exciting option if they can convince him to join over some of his other major suitors.

According to Record in Portugal (via Sport Witness), West Ham have joined the lengthy queue for the 22-year-old’s signature.

Nunez has already attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, according to reports. West Ham are thus competing with clubs of a significant stature.

But Record have revealed that they are in the mix for Nunez, who scored 14 goals last season and already has 11 to his name this term.

Rice a wanted man in January

Rice a wanted man in January

Rice has made himself very valuable for West Ham, and will be a big target for many teams in January.

Even so, Benfica do not want to lose their frontman in January. Furthermore, when the time comes for him to move on, they want any fee to surpass the record €120m they received from Atletico Madrid for Joao Felix.

West Ham would struggle to compete at such prices, but there is a feeling Benfica won’t be able to get their wishes anyway. Therefore, they still may have a chance of taking him.

However, a signing would be useful in January rather than them having to prolong their wait even more. It remains to be seen how they will react.

Not just Darwin Nunez – West Ham in race for former Chelsea forward

Meanwhile, another attacker – although not a striker – to be linked with West Ham over the weekend has been Eden Hazard.

The winger joined Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019 in a transfer in the nine-figure bracket. However, things have not gone to plan for him since.

Injuries and a dip in form have seen him restricted to just 25 league starts in his time at the club. The former Lille ace has started just four top-flight games among 10 appearances in 2021-2022.

And it seems as though his time in the Spanish capital may be up. A number of clubs have been linked with the talented schemer in recent months.

Tottenham and Newcastle United have been mentioned as possible destinations. But now the Hammers have entered the picture. Everton are also apparently keen.

The link to the East End outfit seems stronger, however, with David Moyes’ side flying high at the moment. The Toffees are a club in crisis, with huge doubts over the future of Rafa Benitez.

The Sunday Mirror are reporting that Hazard has been told he can leave Real in the January transfer window. The report adds that his price tag has now fallen from £43m to £25.5m.

And that could drop to £21m for any club willing to take him on loan in the new year with a commitment of a summer purchase.

West Ham’s lofty league position means they are now an exciting prospect for potential new stars.

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