West Ham United look to have been given huge encouragement over their pursuit of striker Michy Batshuayi.
Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini is standing at a crossroads over his striker options.
Andy Carroll’s contract is up in the summer while Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez have both been linked with moves to Spain.
The most pressing issue, though, is the future of talisman Marko Arnautovic.
Bids from two Chinese clubs have been rejected for the Austrian. Neither came close to West Ham’s £50 million valuation of their top goalscorer.
The matter is further complicated by the fact Arnautovic is agitating for the move where he stands to quadruple the £100,000 per week salary he earns at West Ham, as revealed by Mark Noble.
Pellegrini at a crossroads over strikers
While any move is off as things stand, Pellegrini has clearly been planning for life without his star forward.
The Chilean has been linked with a host of strikers including Maxi Gomez, Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti, Callum Wilson, Edin Dzeko and longstanding target Michy Batshuayi (Daily Mail).
Previously Batshuayi has only been considered for loan moves away from parent club Chelsea. The Blues were not keen to loan the Belgian to another Premier League club, certainly not a fierce London rival.
West Ham had a club record £32 million bid for Batshuayi accepted in 2017. But Chelsea matched the club’s offer and Batshuayi chose West London instead.
Things have not worked out for him at Stamford Bridge and he has spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund and Valencia.
Indeed a loan move to Monaco under his former Belgium coach Thierry Henry looked nailed on last week.
Monaco chief gives West Ham hope over permanent Batshuayi deal
But Chelsea pulled the plug.
Now comments from Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev have revealed why and it could be just what West Ham were waiting to hear.
“There is full agreement with Batshuayi, with Valencia, but Chelsea are blocking the transfer,” Vasilyev said (Football Espana).
“They only want a permanent sale for the striker, we want a loan, lets see what happens.”
Batshuayi the perfect fit for Pellegrini
According to the report West Ham would face new competition from Genoa who have money from the sale of Piatek to AC Milan.
Batshuayi is rapid and always looking to run in behind the opposition defence.
His ability to stretch the pitch would help provide more space for the Hammers’ midfielders to operate in.
He fits Pellegrini’s style perfectly. And with the likes of Felipe Anderson and Samir Nasri in the side – with Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere to eventually add to the mix – that could be invaluable.