West Ham United’s pursuit of striker Maxi Gomez may well have been given a big boost.
Manuel Pellegrini is expected to renew his interest in the Celta Vigo and Uruguary forward this summer.
The Hammers reportedly wanted Gomez from Celta in January.
West Ham had been rocked by Marko Arnautovic’s revelation that he wanted to leave for China.
But West Ham refused to do business at anything less than £50 million.
Hammers retain January Gomez interest into the summer
Arnautovic’s replacement, if reports are to be believed, would have been Gomez.
The Austrian remained in East London, though, pocketed an improved deal and Uruguay star Gomez remained in Spain.
Reports after deadline day said West Ham would return for the £45 million rated 22-year-old in the summer (Sky Sports).
And Hammers fans have been keeping a keen eye on Gomez’s situation ever since.
There was worrying news for West Ham recently when Mundo Deportivo claimed Barcelona wanted Gomez.
Even the most ardent of Hammers fans saw that as the death knell for their own interest.
New kid on the block Jovic to the rescue for Pellegrini?
But there has been a new twist with the news Barca now want red hot Eintracht Frankfurt and Serbia striker Luka Jovic.
At 21, Jovic is a year younger than Gomez. And the pair are strikingly similar in style. Both are strong, bull-like centre forwards good at holding up the ball and bringing their teammates into play.
The big difference is Jovic has scored 22 goals this season, more than double the nine scored by Gomez – albeit playing in a relegation-threatened team.
It would be highly unlikely Barca would sign two young strikers in the same mould.
The Catalan club’s management trio of Eric Abidal, Pep Segura and Ramon Planes travelled to Milan last week to see Jovic face Inter in the Europa League.
Jovic backed for Barca as path clears for West Ham
Last week, Marca claimed Jovic was top of Barca’s wishlist. The report also claimed the ‘foundations have been laid for a deal’ as Erneste Valverde seeks a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.
Jovic’s manager for the Serbia national team, Mladen Krstajic, has backed the striker’s ability to succeed at the Camp Nou following his performance and goal against Germany in midweek (Football Espana).
As a result the path is clearing for West Ham to push through a move for Gomez. It comes as Pellegrini faces having to completely remodel his striker options this summer.
The only worry for Hammers fans will be Gomez’s form – or lack of it. Since Pellegrini registered his interest in January Gomez has scored just once in 13 games – read full story.