By Danny Wright
Lazio president Claudio Lotito has confirmed that West Ham had tabled a massive bid for attacker Keita Balde earlier this summer.
Lotito has made it clear that the Irons made an offer worth a stunning £26.4million, which would have seen them break their transfer record for the second time this summer following Marko Arnautovic’s move from Stoke.
Goal Italy reported in July that the Hammers had a bid “pretty much” accepted for Balde, 22, although it has since emerged from the Lazio president that the attacker turned down the chance to move to east London.
“There were three formal offers, all of them I can prove with documentation. Milan would have given us €35m, West Ham €32m and Napoli €30m,” said Lotito, as quoted by Gazzetto Dello Sport and translated by the Mirror in their live transfer blog on Saturday [02:17pm].
“Keita and his agent replied that they were not interested in any of the three, that the destination they wanted was Juventus. The player confirmed it to me in the pre-season training camp.”
Balde, who is known for his displays of lightning speed on the flank, was in hot form for Lazio last season as he scored 16 goals and supplied six assists in 34 appearances across all competitions.
Football Insider Verdict
West Ham’s bid for Balde was very ambitious. They clearly have the money to spend on him but if the player isn’t interested in moving there then there’s no hope for the Irons. He is definitely the kind of player that Slaven Bilic should be looking at because not many defenders would want to be playing against a front three of Balde, Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic. It’s also another signal that Robert Snodgrass has been shown the exit door at the London Stadium. The former Hull winger has been a poor signing for the east London side and it’s clear that this latest bid shows that he isn’t in Bilic’s plans anymore.
In other West Ham news, the Irons have been confirmed to have agreed terms with this enforcer.