West Ham make breakthrough in pursuit of £130,000-a-week star, this is when they can clinch the deal
By Italy correspondent Gianluigi Carrozzini
West Ham have been given encouragement in their pursuit of AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca.
The player’s agent flew to London for talks with Hammers chiefs this week after they tabled a bid of around £15million for Bacca.
The opening offer was rejected by Milan but Bacca’s representative Sergio Barila revealed the Colombian is interested in a possible switch to the Olympic Stadium next season and also suggested when a deal can be secured.
“There was an offer last week from West Ham which was rejected, so we must wait,” Barila told the Guardian. “Carlos is very happy in Milan because it is a very big club and he has enjoyed his time there so far.
“But they will not play in European competition next season and that could be a problem.
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“At the moment Carlos is training with the national team for the Copa America and it is likely we will have to wait for the new investors before anything can develop.”
AC Milan’s Italian owners, led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, are in talks to sell the club to a Chinese consortium.
As one of the club’s prize assets, Bacca will not be sold until a deal is agreed with the possible new buyers.
Unlike Milan, West Ham can offer the player European football next season after their seventh-place Premier League finish secured a place in next season’s Europa League.
The 29-year-old has just completed an impressive debut season for Milan, scoring 20 goals from 43 matches in all competitions, including 18 in 38 Serie A games.
Sky Italy claims that Bacca currently earns a salary of £6.5million at Milan, equivalent to £130,000-a-week.
Bacca joined the Serie A giants from Sevilla 12 months ago for a fee of around £22million after his release clause was activated.
The Hammers have made a move for the Colombia international after the club’s co-owner made clear the club’s desire to land a leading attacking talent in the forthcoming transfer window.
David Gold said on Twitter on Sunday night that West Ham will “leave no stone unturned” in their bid to land a top quality striker this summer.
West Ham have already had a £31million bid rejected for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette and Bournemouth have confirmed they have turned down a stunning £25million double offer for striker Callum Wilson and winger Matt Richie.
The likes of Liverpool’s Christian Benteke, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi have also been targeted by the east Londoners as they prepare to play at the Olympic Stadium next season.
“There might be a few fringe players who we will let go and use that to bring in two or three more players.”
West Ham are ready to smash their club record transfer fee of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham news, the club have fielded a bid worth up to £15million from Manchester United for one of their players.