West Ham could be in for a very chaotic January transfer window, though it will be a transfer window that will not see striker Gabriel Barbosa arrive at the London Stadium.
Sky Sports reports the Brazilian was a target for the east London club before he joined Flamengo on loan from Inter Milan, leaving manager Manuel Pellegrini now needing to look elsewhere.
With the long-term future of Javier Hernandez uncertain, at 22, Barbosa could have been the man to come in and give the Hammers another quality option up front for years.
How, though, does the new Flamengo man match up to the Mexican?
Unlike Hernandez, who found the transition to European football seamless, Barbosa has struggled with it.
He made little impact at Inter Milan following his transfer from Santos back in 2016, while a loan move to Benfica proved to be just as unsuccessful for the forward.
With that being said, Barbosa is still a player with a lot of quality and has since has gone on to rediscover his form thanks to a temporary spell back at the Urbano Caldeira Stadium.
Previously dubbed as the new Neymar, Barbosa is a No.9 who has pace, can dribble, fashion out his own chances and play in various attacking positions.
For whatever reason, it simply has not worked out for the Santos youth product in Europe. But there is still plenty of time for him to change that, and West Ham could have been great place to get the ball rolling.
TT Grade: C
Whereas Barbosa is a forward who relies on his technical ability to make something happen, instinct alone is often enough for Hernandez when it comes to trying to impact a game.
The 30-year-old is always alive in the box to dispatch any sort of chance that comes his way, while he also has the sort of movement that can cause problems for any backline.
All things considered, Hernandez’s West Ham career has probably not gone the way he would have liked with the Mexico international having failed to nail down a regular spot in the Hammers starting XI since arriving at the London Stadium in the summer of 2017.
But even so, when he has been on the pitch, he remains a threat and any possible departure will come as a blow to Pellegrini, especially with the former Manchester United man picking up form this season before sustaining back and hamstring injuries.
TT Grade: C+
With Hernandez failing to rule out a move away from West Ham in an interview with Marca only a couple of months ago, Pellegrini could soon find himself in the market looking for a new striker, especially if Marko Arnautovic ends up departing this month for China.
And while Barbosa has yet to reach anywhere close to Hernandez’s heights, he could have still turned out to be a brilliant piece of business in the long run given his potential. Ultimately, David Gold and David Sullivan may rue not doing more to bring him in.
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