By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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West Ham will have £20million to spend on a new striker this summer – and have shortlisted three main targets.
A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Liverpool’s Christian Benteke, Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi and Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony are all being closely monitored by the high-flying London club.
Manager Slaven Bilic has identified a proven goalscorer as a key target as plans are put in place for West Ham to build upon what has been an outstanding debut campaign for the Croatian, who was appointed Sam Allardyce’s replacement last summer.
West Ham’s top goalscorers this season in all competitions are attacking midfield duo Dimitri Payet (11) and Michail Antonio (7).
Benteke, 25, has had a disappointing season at Anfield following his £32.5million from Aston Villa, and is behind Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi in the pecking order for striker places.
The Belgian played just five minutes of the Europa League double-header against Manchester United, which the Merseysiders won 3-1 on aggregate after dominating the two legs.
Benteke’s fellow Belgium international Batshuayi, 22, has scored 18 goals in 41 Marseille appearances this season and is understood to be keen on a summer move to the Premier League.
Bony, whose eventual Manchester City transfer could cost £33million, might be surplus to requirements under incoming manager Pep Guardiola after a frustrating 18 months at Etihad Stadium.
In other West Ham news, the club have agreed the terms of a £26million deal.