After a less than glamorous start to life at Anfield, it appears Christian Benteke is on the radar for West Ham United. The Belgian target man, 25, has scored just 8 goals in 35 appearances this season, compared to 15 goals in 34 games for Aston Villa during the 2014/15 campaign.
Irons chairman David Sullivan has admitted “he [Benteke] is a player that we admire”, although they may face stiff competition from the likes of Juventus and Atletico Madrid for the Belgian’s signature. Benteke’s reported wage of £120,000 per week may be a big put off for West Ham, who also have other striking targets.
Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi, 22, has been linked since February when chairman Sullivan’s son, Jack Sullivan, posted a picture on Twitter of him wearing a Marsielle shirt with ‘Batshuayi 22’ on the back. Jack has often been a great source for West Ham gossip before official releases, and his young eccentricity often leads him to be at the forefront for breaking news. Batshuayi would reportedly cost a surplus of £30million to prise him away from the French side and it will be interesting to see how high West Ham can go to compete with Europe’s elite clubs, especially as there is a very real chance of Europa League or even Champions League football next season. Batshuayi has been in impressive form, scoring 17 goals in 39 appearances for Marseille in all competitions this campaign.
France international Alexandre Lacazette has been heavily linked with a move away from Olympique Lyonnais and West Ham will face competition from the likes of Tottenham, Juventus and Atletico Madrid for the 24 year-old’s signature. 16 goals in 37 appearances for Lyon this season means interest is high and will only result in a higher transfer fee, again, something West Ham will need to consider if they are really to go toe-to-toe with top clubs.
In terms of Ligue 1 goals this season, Lacazette (14) is slightly edging Batshuayi (13), although both are way behind the League’s top scorer Ibrahimovic (27), who is linked with just about every top club in Europe, at the ripe old age of 34. He was even on West Ham’s radar at one point but interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United seems to have cooled West Ham’s attempts at signing the sensational Swede.
From a statistical point of view, we see Batshuayi has the most assists (8) from the least chances created, making him the deadliest of the three hit-men. Benteke has struggled for goals at Liverpool but that is due to him not being able to fit into the current system. As a target man he requires the team to be built around him but Liverpool have rarely offered that. He has however managed to create 1.75 chances per 90 minutes, the highest of all three players. The high amount of chances that Lacazette can provide will also be useful for West Ham’s surrounding attacking players, such as Antonio or Payet, who will also be looking to grab plenty of goals next year.
If we dive further in and look at West Ham’s current band of strikers, either Batshuayi or Lacazette offer a vast improvement in terms of goals, but Benteke would provide the pivotal Premier League experience and whether or not Liverpool has worked out for the Belgian, we have seen him prove himself in the Premier League previously with Aston Villa. Carroll, Sakho and Valencia have all had rocky seasons in terms of fitness meaning they have struggled for games, between them Carroll has the most league appearances with just 19. Emenike looks to be a temporary solution until the end of the season, a change of artillery up top is definitely needed as West Ham now look for that potent goalscorer to spearhead their attack and seriously attempt to become a top club in the Premier League.
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