By Russell Edge
West Ham are still interested in signing Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu this summer, according to a report.
The Daily Star claim that the Hammers are considering making a move for the 23-year-old, after missing out on the player twice before, but face stiff competition.
AC Milan, where the Spaniard is currently on loan, and former side Barcelona are both reported to be interested in the winger.
It is said it would cost West Ham £15.5million to sign the player from Everton, although a transfer might not be that straightforward.
Barcelona have a £10.3m buy-back clause in his contract, which they included when they sold him to the Toffees back in 2015.
However, it has also been said that if Barcelona did sign the player they could sell him on or loan him out to another club.
Deulofeu has impressed during his loan spell at AC Milan, with one goal and three assists in eight starts, and has been called up to the national squad for their matches against Israel and France.
Since first joining Everton on loan in 2013, he’s gone on to make 62 appearances in the league, contributing five goals and eleven assists, and has been a rumoured target for West Ham in the past.
Were Deulofeu to join the Hammers, he’d face stiff competition, with Andre Ayew, Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini and Robert Snodgrass, amongst others, all vying for attacking roles.
Football Insider Verdict:
West Ham are a team blessed with attacking midfielders, and it’s difficult to see Deulofeu breaking through with all that competition. A player who can excite one game and disappear the next, his return of five goals and eleven assists in 62 appearances is distinctly average, although he undoubtedly has talent. Ronald Koeman appeared to struggle to get the best out of him following his arrival to Goodison Park, hence his loan to Milan. However, there is talk of Slavan Bilic looking at a complete overhaul of his squad, and the Spaniard’s versatility across the front, plus his return to form in Italy, could make him an attractive proposition.
In other West Ham transfer news, the club are looking at bringing in a proven Premier League striker this summer.