West Ham could sign as many as THREE Manchester City players this summer if the rumour mill is to be believed. One of them, club legend Pablo Zabaleta, has already arrived at the London Stadium on a free transfer, but youngster Kelechi Iheanacho and England goalkeeper Joe Hart are also being heavily linked.
To get an update on what is going on with those two, plus a rather tenuous Wilfried Bony rumour, we caught up with the always well-informed @ExWHUEmployee of The West Ham Way and asked him a few questions.
What’s the status on Kelechi Iheanacho to West Ham? A few weeks ago it looked a dead cert, now Leicester are odds-on at the bookies and things have gone a little quiet. I understand City’s demand for a buy-back clause could be causing problems?
The problem with Iheanacho, like you say, is that City have demanded a buy-back clause to be part of the deal. The player himself doesn’t want to leave and this is also seen as a way of appeasing the transfer. The buy-back clause is said to be quite low and with Kelechi making it clear he only really wants to stay in Britain so he can obtain citizenship – and this has made us rethink our offer. A bid has been made and we are still keen but further negotiations are still required.
West Ham are also keen on Olivier Giroud of Arsenal. Would it be the end of your interest in Kelechi if you sign him up or is Bilic after multiple strikers?
I think Bilic would like to sign both Giroud and Iheanacho. We struggled massively last season for not having enough forward options throughout the campaign, with first choice Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho spending more time on the treatment table than the pitch! If both forwards could be obtained for around £20m-£25m then I think we would sign both seeing as we offered £35m for one forward last year.
City are struggling to find buyers for Joe Hart because of his excessive wages, and there have been a few reports that West Ham would be happy to take him on loan. What’s your information on that?
West Ham are keen on Hart although City would have to pay a significant percentage of his wages because on his current salary he would earn more than double any of our players, which would shattered our wage structure! Should this percentage be reduced I think we would make a move.
A pretty well known site in France, Foot Mercato, claims West Ham are one of three clubs keen on Wilfried Bony. I know there has been some West Ham interest in the past, but is that active?
I do not believe we are interested in Bony anymore. We have concerns that he isn’t the forward he once was at Swansea and this has been shown by a poor loan spell at Stoke. With his wage demands as well it means the deal is a no go for us at this point.