It would be almost impossible for anyone to argue that West Ham are not in desperate need of a centre forward this summer – but finding an ideal signing is easier said than done.
Manuel Pellegrini has lost not one, not two but three of his striker options from last season, Marko Arnautovic and Lucas Perez both sold and Andy Carroll out of east London on a free transfer, leaving just Javier Hernandez as the sole senior option up top.
However, despite the departures the Irons are not exactly flush with cash and will have to spend wisely when it comes to recruitment, the arrival of Pablo Fornals taking up a healthy chunk of what budget was available to Pellegrini at the start of the window.
A fee of £13.5million is a reasonable price for any Premier League signing nowadays and Le Telegramme claim that is the amount offered by West Ham for Lorient hitman Alexis Clause-Maurice’s capture.
A 21-year-old attacker with the ability to play on both the wing and up front, the French under-20 ace netted 14 times and chalked up another four assists in Ligue 2 last season – a reasonable record for a youngster who was usually stuck out wide for his side.
The £13.5million (€15million) offer is said to be enough to have convinced Lorient to let him leave and it is a bid which blows Borussia Monchengladbach’s £7.1million (€8million) bid away – the French side reportedly rejecting the German side’s approach.
However, things are not that simple.
The report goes on to say that the player would rather a move to the Bundesliga due to the success rates of fellow young signings, the Premier League said to be a division where players can be “lost” – but West Ham need to prove they are a club where he can flourish.
Not only is there a distinct lack of competition for places up front right now, giving him a clear run at some regular first-team football, he has a manager who is not afraid to give youth a chance – just look at how Declan Rice has progressed over the last 12 months.
Claude-Maurice is right to have reservations but West Ham have got to convince him they are the right club for him sooner rather than later – otherwise a rival suitor might well sink their hopes.