West Ham United finally look set to land a new high-profile striker this summer after having several setbacks in bid to find the right man to lead their forward line.
According to ESPN, the Hammers are now in advanced negotiations over a potential £24 million move for Carlos Bacca.
The AC Milan hit-man is available this summer and the Hammers have identified him as a key target, Bacca is looking to leave Milan this summer due to the club’s failure to qualify for Europe.
Slaven Bilic has been desperate to land a top quality striker this summer and has missed out on number 1 target Michy Batshuayi who has completed a move to Chelsea, they also look set to lose out on Alexandre Lacazette after the player himself rejected the Hammers three times and now Arsenal, PSG, and Atletico Madrid have joined the race to sign the French international.
But, a deal for Bacca is a real possibility this summer, the 29-year-old has reportedly entered negotiations with the club and the deal is now deemed at an “advanced stage”.
West Ham will be desperate to get the deal done and dusted as Champions League sides Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in signing Bacca.
West Ham have failed to land a number of high-profile strikers this summer and are desperate to sign the Colombian international in the coming weeks.
Bacca has spent just one season in Serie A after joining AC Milan last summer, he enjoyed a successful season and found the net 18 times in his debut campaign.
Milan signed Bacca from Sevilla in 2015 and he has made 38 appearances for the club, the Colombian international has also represented his country 33 times scoring 13 goals.
Bacca, who is and out and out striker really likes to dribble with the ball and try to get at defences, he is a pure number 9 and has a good goal to game ratio at every club he has been at, this doesn’t come as a surprise at all as his main strength is his finishing, something that has definitely caught the eye of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.
Bacca is a real old fashioned centre-forward, a poacher in the box who offers a fantastically lethal threat in front of goal, but the natural striker does not offer much else in terms of build-up play.
West Ham will not worry too much about his build-up play though, they have one of the best creators in Europe, Dimitri Payet and will want Bacca using his killer instinct in front of goal.
The 5 ft 11′ striker does show a few obvious weaknesses though, Bacca’s passing is deemed quite weak and he only managed 13.98 successful passes per 90 minutes last season, this is outshone by Andy Carroll, West Ham United’s current striker who managed 16.72.
Carroll, who played 11 games less than Bacca last season also managed an impressive score of 0.56 goals per 90 minutes, which is once again superior to Bacca who scored 0.51.
Carroll who found fine form last season burst into life after scoring a hat-trick against Arsenal, he managed several impressive performances for West Ham and also managed to create chances as well as score goals, he created 1.25 chances per 90 minutes which once again sees him high-ranking than Bacca who managed 1.17.
Another weakness of Bacca’s play is his offside awareness, he is often caught flat-footed when receiving the ball and is not quick enough to get in an onside position, this is of course a worry for the Hammers but it is something Bilic will be able to work on in training.
Bacca has a £24 million release clause in his contract with Milan, and his agent Sergio Barila claimed the Hammers have already had one bid rejected but discussions are ongoing.
Sergio Barila revealed that Atletico and PSG are interested in Bacca, but also said there is interest elsewhere without naming West Ham.
“All I can say is that these clubs are not the only ones who have made a move for him,” Barila said. “Other big clubs have enquired about him.”
Barila added: “There was firm interest from China in January with substantial offers, but Carlos wants to be a protagonist at the highest levels in Europe still and he has no intention taking [China] into consideration. There will be time for this kind of choice later, certainly not now.”
Bacca is on holiday following the Copa America Centenario, where he helped Colombia to a third-place finish, and Barila said: “When he gets back, we’ll talk to Milan and evaluate the situation.”
Bacca has been spoken about for several years around Europe and has been linked with a move to England before as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United were all reportedly interested in his signature.
West Ham certainly look set to finally land a high-profile striker after showing real signs of intent so far this summer but not managing to complete the deal, Bacca, who is 29-years-old will certainly add goals and experience to West Ham’s forward line and help the club have a successful season, not just in the league but Europe as well.