By Tom Blackburn
West Ham’s proposed transfer of Argentine Jonathan Calleri is in doubt after Barcelona showed an interest in the striker, according to a report.
Calleri told ESPN last week that he was close to completing a loan move to West Ham but a work permit issue was stalling the deal.
Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo now claim that those delays have allowed Barcelona to show an interest, as they look for back-up to attacking trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
It is said that the Spanish champions have showed an interest in Calleri and are keeping close tabs on the youngster, although the report does not say whether Barca are planning to hijack West Ham’s proposed deal.
The 22-year-old Argentine attacker was most recently at Sao Paulo, where he finished as top scorer in the 2016 Copa Libertadores with nine goals.
The young attacker is currently in Rio de Janeiro, competing in the Olympic Games as part of Argentina’s Under-23 team.
Calleri, who is yet to make any Argentina appearances, has attracted Premier League interest since scoring 21 goals in 53 matches for former club Boca Juniors.
He has since been loaned to Sao Paulo for six months via Uruguayan club Deportivo Maldonado and 10 matches for the Brazilian side in 2016 have yielded an impressive eight goals.
Slaven Bilic has been in the hunt for a proven goalscorer all summer, and has been linked with the likes of Carlos Bacca, Mario Gomes, Andre Ayew, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette, Theo Walcott as well as a sensational east London return for Carlos Tevez.
On Monday evening they announced the signing of Swansea striker Andre Ayew for £20.5million.
That breaks London club’s transfer record by £5million, as it usurps the £15.5million spent on signing Andy Carroll from Liverpool in 2013.
In other West Ham transfer news, they have revived their move for a Serie A goals ace and have a £21million bid lined up.