West Ham United have been chasing strikers left right and centre, and have been for a long time. Last summer the Hammers pushed for a top-class front man and pursued the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette, Carlos Bacca and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
However they were left empty handed when Ibrahimovic moved to Manchester United, Batshuayi transferred to Chelsea whilst Bacca stayed at AC Milan and Lacazette remained at Lyon.
They settled with signing Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri, but neither of them made much of an impact last season – Calleri scored only one goal, which meant the club were reluctant to make his loan permanent, and Zara lasted just six months before moving to Valencia.
So now this summer Slaven Bilic is back square one again, and it’s even more vital for West Ham to find a strong front man now that the only feasible player left – Andy Carroll – can’t be consistently called upon with his ongoing fitness concerns.
To improve West Ham’s defence, Bilic has signed right-back Pablo Zabaleta. But now one name has popped up recently that has intrigued more than most for a possible second signing.
Striker Javier Hernandez could be the next to arrive at the London Stadium.
Bayer Leverkusen’s failure to succeed last season in Germany’s top tier has already been a motive for many players to leave the club. Turkey defender Omer Toprak has already left for Borussia Dortmund and Hakan Calhanoglu for AC Milan, and it is expected that Kevin Kampl will follow in their footsteps.
Now, Chicharito looks set to leave after Bayer Leverkusen finished only four points above the Bundesliga’s relegation playoff spot, and is believed to have a paltry £13m release clause in his contract.
So how could this Mexican striker be a success for West Ham?
It’s surprising that there hasn’t been a massive interest for Chicharito, but that could be a good thing for West Ham. For his price and goalscoring expertise, he could be exactly what a West Ham side that are desperate for a European finish are looking for.
Chicharito is 29-years-old, so this might be one of the few (if not only) times left he has to return to the Premier League where he thrived and impressed back at Manchester United.
The fact that he still performed well in Germany means he still has what it takes to do well in England – especially for a team who want to build their attack. Chicharito has a conversion rate of 23.6% (excluding penalties) in the last three seasons in Europe’s top five leagues – a stat only bettered by Luis Suarez with a rate of 25.1%.
West Ham went from having an average of 9.4 key passes per game to only 8.4 key passes after Dimitri Payet left the club at the turn of the year, so it is vital that Bilic brings in a striker who is more than capable of securing these chances on a regular basis.
Here, Chicharito is a perfect fit, having averaged a goal every 56 touches in the last two Bundesliga seasons. He is the fourth-best return of players to score more than 10 goals in that time.
If Chicharito continued to perform at this level, then it would mean he could easily take to the Premier League for the second time in is carer.
West Ham could be a good fit for Chicharito, too. No one could blame a player who would turn down a bench role for a more prominent position in another team.
He could solve West Ham’s striking shortcomings, so if they can secure this deal it will massively increase their chances of a return to Europe.
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