By Italy correspondent Gianluigi Carrozzini
West Ham have stepped up their pursuit of AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca, according to a report.
The Hammers tabled a bid of around £15million for Bacca on Monday night.
Now Italy-based transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed on his website that the player’s agent has flown to London club for talks with West Ham.
It is said he will evaluate the Londoners’ proposal before talks about a transfer can begin between the two clubs.
Central to the talks will be the kind of package that West Ham are willing to offer the the 29-year-old, who has just completed an impressive debut season for Milan, scoring 20 goals from 43 matches in all competitions, including 18 in 38 Serie A games.
Di Marzio claims that Bacca currently earns a salary of £6.5million at Milan, equivalent to £130,000-a-week.
Bacca joined the Serie A giants from Sevilla 12 months ago for a fee of around £22million after his release clause was activated.
The Hammers have made a move for the Colombia international after the club’s co-owner made clear the club’s desire to land a leading attacking talent in the forthcoming transfer window.
David Gold said on Twitter on Sunday night that West Ham will “leave no stone unturned” in their bid to land a top quality striker this summer.
West Ham have already had a £31million bid rejected for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette and Bournemouth have confirmed they have turned down a stunning £25million double offer for striker Callum Wilson and winger Matt Richie.
The likes of Liverpool’s Christian Benteke, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi have also been targeted by the east Londoners as they prepare to play at the Olympic Stadium next season.
Speaking last Friday, West Ham’s other co-owner David Sullivan gave an update on the club’s pursuit of a striker who can score around 20 goals in a season.
“We know that we need a top striker which is the hardest thing to sign,” Sullivan told the West Ham website. “We need a 20-goal-a-season striker and that will cost us £25m or £30million. That is where the bulk of the money goes.
“We also need the occasional long shot which is the cheaper player that may come good. We want to sign more players.
“There might be a few fringe players who we will let go and use that to bring in two or three more players.”
West Ham are ready to smash their club record transfer fee of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham news, the club have fielded a bid worth up to £15million from Manchester United for one of their players.