By Matt Farr
Brentford boss Dean Smith expects West Ham to return with another improved bid for striker Scott Hogan.
The 24-year-old goalscorer has been one of Slaven Bilic’s top transfer targets this month, and the Hammers have reportedly failed on three separate attempts to sign him.
They are yet to meet Brentford’s valuation of the player, and the Telegraph reporter Jason Burt claimed on Twitter on Friday that West Ham had cooled their interest in Hogan.
Jose Fonte from Southampton to West Ham United is very close to being done at up to £8m. West Ham have cooled on Scott Hogan – for now..
— Jason Burt (@JBurtTelegraph) January 20, 2017
However, in a further twist to the transfer saga, the Brentford boss revealed on Saturday that a team is still actively pursuing their most-prized asset after calling him on the Friday night before their Championship game on Saturday.
Speaking after their defeat to Wigan in the Championship, from which Hogan pulled out of citing injury, Smith revealed to the club’s official website that the striker had become unsettled after receiving a phone call on Friday night.
He said: “He had a phone call last night that has turned his head as there is a bid coming imminently.
“For me the transfer window has to be looked at as you can’t have speculation preventing you picking your best team. It is very frustrating when you want to pick your best team but can’t because of outside influences.
“Getting phone calls the night before the game is not the best way to go about it.”
The striker sat out of the club’s last three games in all competitions, but despite the ongoing speculation, Smith insisted that it was due to a hamstring injury.
From 26 appearances in all competitions, Hogan has scored 14 goals, helping Brentford to 15th in the Championship after 27 games.
West Ham have been impressed by his form in front of goal, and turned to him in the absence of a prolific goalscorer of their own.
Andy Carroll has recently found some form, netting five goals since returning from a lengthy injury absence. But Bilic is still looking at other options.
Football Insider verdict
It seems that Hogan still remains a target for West Ham, despite claims their interest had cooled, although Carroll’s rediscovered eye for goal may have pushed it down the list of priorities. He remains the most likely option to move to east London this month, after their failed attempts to land Jermain Defoe, and several other targets. However, the issue remains the asking-price; which is a little steep. Brentford are believed to want £15million, and so far it is doing its’ job in putting clubs off their star player. But with time fast running out, West Ham could finally resign to matching the valuation and snapping up Hogan. There will be a lot of expectation for Hogan to succeed in the Premier League with that kind of price-tag, but his goalscoring form suggests it could be a worthy risk. After not featuring for Brentford for the past three games, it does seem like Hogan’s time at the club is nearing an end.
In other West Ham transfer news, the battle to land Dimitri Payet has taken a twist as Nice prepare to hijack Marseille’s pursuit of the Hammers outcast.