Manuel Pellegrini could use interest in striker Lucas Perez to bring in one of the stars of last summer’s World Cup.
When the Hammers signed Perez from Arsenal for a modest £4 million it looked very good business.
The 30-year-old failed to shine with the Gunners but many supporters felt he simply wasn’t given a chance by Arsene Wenger.
It is a similar story in East London, though, with four goals from 13 appearances for the Hammers so far – two of which came in the same game against Cardiff.
West Ham skipper Mark Noble recently described Perez as one the best finishers he has ever seen at the club (Evening Standard).
But just six months into his time at West Ham Perez is already being linked with a move back to La Liga with hopefuls Real Betis (Evening Standard).
Flop or Pellegrini clanger?
Some fans feel he is not good enough. Others believe Pellegrini has been playing him out of position after a successful loan spell at Deportivo just last season.
Like West Ham, Betis have designs on finishing in the European places this season.
West Ham’s ambitions are being hindered by a glut of injures, many for the season. And the uncertainty surrounding talisman Marko Arnautovic.
Key absentees are the playmaking trio Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere.
Samir Nasri has been brought in on a short term deal and has impressed. But beyond the Frenchman and Felipe Anderson West Ham lack genuine creative quality.
How Betis move for Perez could help West Ham land World Cup star Inui
So Pellegrini could use Betis’ interest in Perez to leverage a deal for Japan World Cup star Takashi Inui.
The talented 30-year-old playmaker is being monitored by other Spanish clubs such as Alaves (Football Espana).
But West Ham would be a much bigger draw for the first Japanese player ever to score against Barcelona.
Inui is a diminutive but stocky and quick midfielder who shone for his country at the World Cup in Russia.
Inui perfect for Pellegrini’s style
He scored in the 2-2 draw with Senegal and was one of Japan’s key players on the biggest stage.
That was evident when he scored a beautiful goal and was man of the match as Japan went agonisingly close to eliminating one of the favourites Belgium in one of the best games of the World Cup.
Inui fits Pellegrini’s style perfectly and offers the right balance of attacking threat and defensive workrate.
The Hammers could do with his creativity, energy and pace. And it is a deal that would make sense for all parties.
That is of course IF Pellegrini can either keep or replace Arnautovic.