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West Ham have been in pursuit of a top-class centre-forward throughout the summer. After being priced out of options like Alexandre Lacazette, it looked like Slaven Bilic may have had to settle with only Andy Carroll leading the line. The club had shown enough ambition in the transfer market by bringing in André Ayew for a club record fee. However, this record now looks set to be broken as the club are close to bringing in Simone Zaza from Juventus.
The 25-year-old will arrive at a cost of £24 million. Zaza has played for Sampdoria, Sassuolo, and Juventus in the last six seasons but there have also been loans spells to the likes of Viareggio and Ascoli along the way.
Juventus signed him on the back of the impressive 2014-15 campaign with Sassuolo. He had scored 12 goals in 34 appearances for the Italian club, but this record has taken a hit in recent times with the player struggling to get regular game time in his only campaign with Juventus. A return of eight goals in 24 appearances may not seem solid, but he is an Italian international nonetheless. He has made 14 appearances for the national team since his debut in 2014 although most of these appearances have come as a substitute. His last action with Italy was in the Euro 2016 when he missed in the penalty shootout against Germany.
Standing at 6 ft 1 in, Zaza is not the like-for-like replacement for Carroll. In fact, the 25-year-old is not the greatest when it comes to holding the ball and waiting for his teammates to arrive. He also averages less than 70% when it comes to passing accuracy. While he struggles in such aspects, some of the positives Zaza brings to the team is his ability to link up with playmakers like Payet. He often looks for a return pass in dangerous areas and the vision provided by Payet could just be perfect.
Zaza may not be the pure world class addition West Ham were looking for, but he is a less risky option who could become a hit.