By Tom Blackburn
Juventus striker Simone Zaza is set to be offered to Chelsea as part of a swap deal for Nemanja Matic, according to a report.
Italian publication Gazzetta World claimed in July that the Hammers had turned their attentions to Italy international Zaza as they stepped up their striker search.
Italian sport newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport now claim that Matic has expressed his interest to leave Chelsea amid strong interest from Juventus, who are willing to use Zaza as a makeweight in the deal.
The report says Juventus see Matic as a replacement for Paul Pogba, who was sold to Man United for a world record fee of £89million.
Matic signed for Chelsea from Benfica in 2014 and has since gone on to make 114 appearances for the club, though his performances were called into question last season as the 2014-15 champions nosedived from first to 10th in the Premier League.
Juventus will be eager to find a new midfielder before their Serie A opener against Fiorentina next Saturday.
Zaza infamously missed a penalty in Italy’s shoot-out defeat against Germany in the Euro 2016 quarter-final when he blazed the ball over Manuel Neuer’s goal following an unorthodox run-up.
However, Zaza did help Juventus complete a domestic double last season with the Serie A title and the Italian Cup, although forwards Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata kept his game time limited.
The striker scored eight goals in 24 appearances in all competitions during the 2015-16 campaign.
West Ham boss 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, 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 wide forward Andre Ayew for £20.5million.
That broke the 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 news, Barcelona have shown late interest in a striker seemingly heading to the Hammers.