By Russell Edge
West Ham are set to battle it out with Everton to secure the signing of Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, according to a report.
The London Evening Standard claims that the Hammers are considering placing a bid to meet the £20m asking price set by City on the 20-year-old.
However, they face a real fight to convince the Nigerian born striker to join up with Slaven Bilic and his side, with the Sun reporting that Everton are also ready to swoop for the man who has started just five Premier League games this campaign.
The Standard report that Michy Batshuayi is on also the Hammers’ radar and a loan bid is ready to go as the club target the Chelsea man as one of their two two big-name striker signings.
The two leading targets for the other positon are Iheanacho and ex-West Ham man Jermain Defoe, who was the subject of numerous bids for from the club in the January window.
In total, Iheanacho, who is contracted at the club until 2012, has made 19 appearances this season, scoring four goals and contributing three assists.
His chances have been limited due to the form of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, resulting in a bit-part role at the Etihad this campaign.
It is a far cry from the youngster who broke onto the scene under Manuel Pellegrini last season, scoring 14 in 35 appearances across all competitions.
Football Insider verdict:
It is clear that Slaven Bilic is looking to improve his strike force this season, so a move for Iheanacho seems a very wise move. The 20-year-old is struggling for game time at City, despite his impressive goal scoring record in the league. He is unlikely to force his way past Aguero or Jesus up front, so a move away from the Etihad, either on loan or permanently, seems the most sensible path for the player. As for the Hammers, they would be getting their hands on a striker hungry for action and with his best years ahead of him. They should be snapping City’s hand off for £20m.
In other West Ham transfer news, the club are targeting this City player to join Bilic’s side.