By support

16th May, 2017 | 8:18am

West Ham and Marseille enter transfer battle for Serie A striker (not Mertens) - report

By Will Butcher

West Ham are set to rival Marseille for the signature of Napoli striker Leonardo Pavoletti, according to a report.

Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb claim the Hammers are set to go head-to-head with cash-rich Marseille after selling playmaker Dimitri Payet to Rudi Garcia’s side in January.

Pavoletti is not the first Serie A striker to be reportedly interesting West Ham, with The Mirror claiming that Pavoletti’s teammate Dries Mertens is also interesting the Hammers.

Pavoletti, 28, is likely to leave Napoli this summer after playing second fiddle to the likes of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik throughout the 2016-17 campaign.

Making just nine appearances after confirming a £15million move to Napoli in January, Pavoletti has failed to find the back of the net and could be offloaded this summer.

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The Hammers are likely to be interested in a striker this summer, after failing to add a prolific marksman to their ranks before the start of the 2016-17 season.

Andre Ayew, Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza have all struggled to spearhead the Hammers attack, while Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have been tormented with injury problems.

Despite having four years left on his contract at the Stadio San Paolo, Pavoletti could look to jump ship in order to prevent his career from stagnating on the bench at Napoli.

This comes after Tuttomercatoweb reported that the player was being scouted by both Arsenal and Liverpool in October last year.

Football Insider verdict:

Before joining Napoli, Pavoletti had scored 25 goals in 46 Genoa appearances as well as laying on six assists, and it is that kind of form that he would have to rediscover if he was to join Slaven Bilic’s side. There is no doubt that the Hammers are in desperate need of a striker after struggling this season, and Pavoletti could be the man to provide the goals next season that fires the Hammers into contention for a Europa League spot. Known for his aerial prowess as well as his technical ability that doesn’t often go hand-in-hand for a big striker, Pavoletti would suit the Hammers’ style of play. It could spell the end for the likes of Calleri and even Carroll though, as Bilic looks to remould his squad this summer.

In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers are sweating over a deal for this Premier League defender.

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