Date: 19th March 2016 at 8:26am
Written by:

By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

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West Ham will have £20million to spend on a new striker this summer – and have shortlisted four main targets.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Liverpool’s Christian Benteke, Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi, Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette are all being closely monitored by the high-flying London club.

Manager Slaven Bilic has identified a proven goalscorer as a key target as plans are put in place for West Ham to build upon what has been an outstanding debut campaign for the Croatian, who was appointed Sam Allardyce’s replacement last summer.

West Ham’s top goalscorers this season in all competitions are attacking midfield duo Dimitri Payet (11) and Michail Antonio (7), with strikers Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Emmanuel Emenike failing to provide the regular supply of goals the club had hoped.

Benteke, 25, has had a disappointing season at Anfield following his £32.5million from Aston Villa, and is behind Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi in the pecking order for striker places, while Danny Ings will also be back at the start of next season.

The Belgian played just five minutes of the Europa League double-header against Manchester United, which the Merseysiders won 3-1 on aggregate after dominating the two legs.

Slaven Bilic is confident Dimitri Payet will sign a West Ham contract extension

Happy hammer: Bilic wants a proven goalscorer at Upton Park next season

Benteke’s fellow Belgium international Batshuayi, 22, has scored 18 goals in 41 Marseille appearances this season and is understood to be keen on a summer move to the Premier League.

Bony, whose eventual Manchester City transfer could cost £33million, might be surplus to requirements under incoming manager Pep Guardiola after a frustrating 18 months at Etihad Stadium.

France international Lacazette, 24, has scored 15 goals in 36 matches for Lyon this season and is said to have a release clause in his contract.

In other West Ham news, the club have agreed the terms of a £26million deal.