By Danny Wright
West Ham are facing a scrap with Premier League rivals Liverpool for Benfica forward Raul Jiminez, according to a report.
The Mirror claims that the Hammers have a “long-standing” interest in the 26-year-old, who starred for Mexico as they reached the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup this summer.
It is understood that European giants Benfica are willing to listen to offers for Jiminez, and value him at £19million, which is just shy of the Hammers’ record signing of Andre Ayew from Swansea for £20million last year.
The former Atletico Madrid striker scored 11 goals in 32 appearances last season as Benfica won the Portuguese league title, but suffered similar problems as to what current Irons strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have recently had as he had numerous spells on the sidelines through injury.
Jiminez has 50 senior international caps for Mexico, and helped them qualify for the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup in Russia when he scored a crucial goal in the 2-1 win over New Zealand in the group stages.
Football Insider Verdict
Jiminez looks as though he could a decent addition to Slaven Bilic’s side, but his signing should not really cause Hammers fans to get too excited. £19million is a very steep fee for a player who spent most of last season injured. Bilic simply doesn’t need another sick-note on his hands so ideally West Ham should leave this deal be and move on to someone else. Anthony Modeste might cost too much but Villarreal’s Cedric Bakambu could be a better option. Either way, the Irons have to recruit at least one top striker this summer and look to dispense the services of the unreliable Sakho.
In other West Ham news, Don Hutchison has offered his thoughts on this player after the Hammers reportedly tabled a bid.