By Will Butcher
AC Milan’s M’Baye Niang has been added to West Ham’s growing striker shortlist, according to a report.
The Daily Star claim manager Slaven Bilic wants to sign at least two forwards this month and is hopeful of pushing through the purchase of Scott Hogan from Brentford.
It is said Milan’s 22-year-old attacker Niang is also on Bilic’s radar, with the Croatian a big fan of the fact he can play both out wide and as a centre forward.
France Under-21’s international Niang joins a long list of strikers that are interesting the Hammers, with a bid for Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe and a loan offer for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi rejected.
Bilic is keen to add firepower to is squad after summer signings Jonathan Calleri, Simone Zaza and Ashley Fletcher have amassed just one goal between them.
Andre Ayew has jetted off to represent Ghana at the African Cup of Nations, while Diafra Sakho has gone under the knife to correct a problem in his back.
Known for his explosive pace from out wide or as a number nine, Niang has been in eye-catching form for Milan this season with three goals and three assists in 16 games.
Milan’s number 11 has three years remaining on his contract, but could be seen as expendable with Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano and Gianluca Lapadula all vying for a first-team slot.
Football Insider verdict:
Niang should be signed at all costs by Croatian manager Bilic. Even though the Hammers would be wise to target proven Premier League quality this month after a number of questionable signings from overseas such as Sofiane Feghouli, Gokhan Tore and Havard Nordtveit, Niang has undoubted talent that would see him shine in any of Europe’s biggest leagues. Possessing ace from out wide, or even able to partner Andy Carroll up front, Niang would provide an attacking bite to the east London side as they look to fire themselves away from a potential relegation dog fight come the end of the season.
In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers have wrapped up a deal to sign this striker according to a reliable journalist.