Perhaps it is harsh to refer to an Italian international who plays for Juventus as simply a ‘penalty flop’ but the reality is that THAT penalty miss from Euro 2016 is the only impression many fans of English football will have of Simone Zaza.
West Ham, however, seem to have looked further into the talents of the 25-year-old. Their need for additional attacking options was exacerbated last week after Andy Carroll suffered a knee injury in their Europa League tie versus Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu. A timetable of between four to six weeks has been laid out by manager Slaven Bilić for his recovery.
West Ham were already in the midst of an injury crisis up front as club record signing André Ayew had already been ruled for four months days prior to Carroll’s injury. Furthermore, Diafra Sakho has been dealing with a back injury, though he is expected back sooner than Ayew and Carroll.
According to Premier League betting odds of William Hill, Man City are strong favourites at 1/3 against West Ham, who are 8/1.
With Juventus making Gonzalo Higuaín the fourth most expensive player ever this summer, Zaza appears to be surplus to requirements.
The Evening Standard have quoted his father as saying, “West Ham are a solution we’d appreciate and represent something more concrete. We’ll have to see what Juventus do and expect news soon.
“We are taking London into serious consideration as his next destination. Simone still has four years on his contract and would happily remain in Turin to give his contribution.”
A move abroad seems particularly likely as Antonio also added, “Juventus don’t want to sell Simone to a direct rival. Milan, Napoli and Roma would be the options, we’ll see what happens.”
Zaza does boast a career ratio of better than a goal every three matches as he has scored 58 goals in 156 appearances for seven different clubs over the course of his career.
According to The Sun, Southampton are also interested in possibly making an offer for the forward, while the Hammers have also been linked with a move for Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony, which is tipped to be more likely by La Gazzetta dello Sport at this stage.
Zaza is known for his strength and speed in Italy so he would seem suited to the physical demands that the English game would place upon him. A fee of just over €20 million has been mooted.
Vincent Whelan, Pundit Arena