Andy Carroll looks likely to leave West Ham United but Europe’s highest scoring Argentine could be a tailor-made replacement.
Carroll’s six-year contract is up in the summer.
And after spending more time in the treatment room than on the pitch during his Hammers career that looks unlikely to be extended.
The big striker has not featured since picking up an injury in West Ham’s first pre-season match in the summer.
But Carroll will reportedly make his latest comeback from injury after the forthcoming international break (Football London).
Pellegrini can’t afford to rely on injury-prone players
Manuel Pellegrini will be looking to bolster his squad in January.
The Chilean is dealing with a Premier League-worst injury list after seeing Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Carlos Sanchez ruled out for most of if not the entire season while Jack Wilshere has already suffered from injury issues which have dogged his career.
West Ham can no longer rely on Carroll and if the former Newcastle man is fit in January the club could be tempted to cash in any remaining worth the player has.
With lucrative Premier League survival at stake there could be a number of clubs, including the likes of Newcastle and Crystal Palace, who will be desperate for a striker like Carroll come January.
West Ham have been grateful to have the Carroll option in the armoury in the past.
The little known Argentine with more goals than Messi, Icardi, Aguero and Higuain
Indeed the ex-England man has scored some crucial goals over the years and provided a much-needed aerial presence in both boxes.
His type are a dying breed, though.
So if Pellegrini wanted to replace like-for-like could little known Emiliano Sala of Nantes be the answer?
Argentine Sala, 28, has shot to prominence this season after notching more goals than any of his compatriots plying their trade in Europe.
That’s some statistic when he is up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Mauro Icardi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.
Focal point Sala ideal replacement for Carroll?
The 6ft 3in striker has only ever played in France and never for his national team but looks ideally suited to English football.
A brace against Guingamp at the weekend took Sala’s tally for the season to double figures already.
It comes after a number of seasons consistently netting around 12 goals and in spite of playing under a succession of managers who set up in very defensive formations.
Sala is thriving under new Nantes boss Vahid Halilhodzic who adopts a more attacking approach.
Fine form will drive up the price
According to a special report on the player in The Guardian, Sala offers Nantes a focal point.
That suggests he could well replace Carroll’s influence at West Ham who also play attacking football under Pellegrini.
His form will undoubtedly drive up the price should West Ham come knocking.
But Sala would arrive as something of an unknown quantity looking to prove his worth.
And that could make him a dangerous proposition for rival defences.