West Ham United appear to have had their hopes of landing Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa boosted.
West Ham have been linked with the Inter Milan outcast since last January.
The Hammers tried to get Barbosa on loan on deadline day a year ago according to the player’s agent (Express).
But the 23-year-old ended up joining Flamengo on a season-long loan from Inter Milan.
Back in his homeland, Barbosa scored an incredible 43 goals in 58 games.
West Ham’s on-off chase for Gabigol
And that sparked new interest from the likes of West Ham.
Claret & Hugh, which regularly claims to have a top level source inside West Ham – believed to be co-owner David Sullivan – said the interest in Barbosa was real.
The prospect of signing the lively goalscorer from Inter excited West Ham fans.
At the weekend rivals Tottenham were linked a move for Barbosa in the wake of Harry Kane’s injury, according to the Sunday People (January 12th, page 51).
But West Ham and Flamengo were believed to be the two clubs battling it out.
That is despite Inter making it clear they needed the money to balance the books and fund their own transfer activity.
That appeared to put Flamengo in the driving seat.
Hammers loan offer put Flamengo in charge
But West Ham will be encouraged by a new report from Italy which claims Flamengo want to bring Barbosa’s fellow countryman Pedro back to Brazil from Fiorentina instead (Football Italia).
Pedro – who at 22 is a year younger than Barbosa – only joined Fiorentina from Fluminense in September for £8million.
But he has hardly played Flamengo have agreed a deal that would see Pedro join on loan with an option to buy for £10m.
Quite what West Ham’s hesitation to spend a relatively low fee of £18.5million on Barbosa is anyone’s guess.
He has a fine pedigree and a goal ratio of one in every two.
What’s the hesitation over quality, young goalscorer?
Barbosa is only being sold by Inter to help the club satisfy Financial Fair Play regulations. The San Siro giants must balance the books to facilitate signings in other areas of their squad.
The striker has a tough task to break into the Inter squad with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and – when fit – Alexis Sanchez.
David Moyes is in desperate need of more firepower.
Sebastien Haller has struggled as a lone striker with just six goals in 20 Premier League appearances so far.
Now it is over to co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold to solve the problem and West Ham’s season.