By Will Butcher
Simone Zaza’s father and agent has claimed that his son had agreed a deal with Serie A giants Napoli before joining West Ham.
The 25-year-old had been high on a number of club’s shortlists after falling down the pecking order with Italian champions Juventus, following the signing of Gonzalo Higuain.
Speaking to Italian outlet TuttoNapoli, Antonio Zaza claimed that his son had agreed a deal with Napoli, only for Maurizio Sarri’s side to get cold feet and stop communicating with Zaza’s representatives.
“There was strong contact with Napoli,” Zaza’s father told TuttoNapoli. “Then we didn’t hear from them and no one explained why.
“We reached an agreement on everything [with Napoli] and we should have heard from them in a day, two days max but we never heard from them. They disappeared. I have no problem in saying that the offer was also very good; £2.9million plus bonuses.”
Zaza has joined the Hammers initially on a season-long loan with an obligation for the transfer to become permanent next summer for £24million.
His father revealed that his son was delighted that West Ham offered an alternative after talks with Napoli fell through.
“Thank God we were spoiled for choice,” he said. “And there was the important offer from West Ham, a great project.”
Zaza helped Juventus complete a domestic double in the recently completed season with the Serie A title and the Italian Cup, although forwards Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata kept his game time limited.
The striker, who has earned 14 Italy caps, scored eight goals in 24 appearances in all competitions during the 2015-16 campaign.
In other West Ham news, this defender has revealed he rejected AC Milan and an unnamed Spanish side to join the Hammers.