Premier League

Forget Babacar: If West Ham are spending £15m on a striker, they should gamble on this man

The West Ham United fans in the Transfer Tavern are worried about being left light up front if one of their strikers departs this month. Indeed, Diafra Sakho is very keen on a move away from The London Stadium, Andy Carroll is tempted by a move to Chelsea and West Ham could listen to offers for Javier Hernandez.

This would leave David Moyes with very few options up top – especially if Andre Ayew leaves as well. He would only have Marko Arnautovic – who is more naturally an attacking midfielder – and inexperienced youngster Toni Martinez left in his ranks.

Recent rumours linked the Hammers with a swoop for Khouma Babacar of Fiorentina. West Ham reportedly wanted a loan but Fiorentina want £15m for the striker, though the Irons should avoid him. Babacar has not started a single match for Fiorentina in Serie A this season, scoring four goals from the bench. Do West Ham really want to splash £15m on a fringe player in a mid-table Serie A team?

Luckily for the Irons, Crystal Palace are now the favourites to sign the Senegal international. But if West Ham do have £15m readily available to strengthen their striker options, then why not have a punt on Fyodor Smolov?

The Russian national team captain is available for that price and has already signalled his desire to join West Ham. Although he would be an unproven forward at Premier League level, his goalscoring record in Russia makes him worth a gamble. The 27-year-old has 59 goals in 90 games for FC Krasnodar, who play in the top division of Russian football.

With 11 goals in 28 games for Russia, too, Smolov could be worth a punt. He speaks fluent English and therefore settling into a new environment would be made easier, with West Ham needing instant success on the striking front.


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