By Harry Sykes
Transfer expert Guillem Balague has claimed that West Ham are working on a deal to sign Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea – and Michail Antonio could head the other way.
Sky Sports reported on their website on Monday that the Hammers were keen on landing the Belgium striker on loan for the rest of the season.
Sky Sports’ Spanish expert Balague, who is well connected and a reliable source of transfer information, reported on his personal Twitter account on Tuesday that a big-name player exchange deal is being worked on by West Ham.
Balague claimed that talks were taking place about Batshuayi moving to the London Stadium and Hammers leading scorer Antonio joining Chelsea.
This is been WORKED ON, not CONFIRMED!!!! Batshuayi to West Ham, Antonio could move to CFC. Llorente too + Ulloa 2 replace him #letssee
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 10, 2017
In addition, the journalist and broadcaster said Chelsea were trying to land a second attacker in Swansea’s Fernando Llorente, with Leicester’s Leonardo Ulloa in line to replace the Spain international at the Liberty Stadium.
Batshuayi has been a bit-part player at Chelsea this season following his £33million transfer from Marseille last summer.
The Belgium international arrived with a fine track record but has not yet started a Premier League game and has had scarce playing time to build on his three-goal return.
By contrast, Antonio has been a mainstay of a struggling West Ham team and has delivered a series of eyecatching displays to comfortably make him the club’s leading scorer with eight league goals.
Football Insider verdict:
West Ham fans will have misgivings if the Chelsea-West Ham player exchange deal reported by Balague would mean Antonio leaving on a permanent deal and Batshuayi only signing for the remainder of the season. The Hammers are desperate to recruit a proven goalscorer but they should not do so at the expense of their outstanding player in the opening half of the campaign. Antonio is versatile, mobile, electric around the penalty box and brilliant in the air. You can see why Chelsea want him. Hammers chiefs must negotiate a loan swap, or a mega fee for their prize asset.
In other West Ham transfer news, the club have been installed odds-on favourites to sign a Premier League midfield goal machine this month.