Allardyce’s transfer search hots up ahead of January transfer window

West Ham boss interested in Japanese striker and Crystal Palace starlet

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has stepped up his search for potential January recruits this week with the emergence of two attacking prospects that are on West Ham’s radar.

The first of these is Japanese international striker Ryoichi Maeda.

The 30-year-old currently plays for Jubilo Iwata in the Japanese League, and his contract is set to run out at the end of this month.

Maeda won the golden boot award in his native country in 2009 and 2010, and has scored 115 goals for Jubilo in his 11-season stint at the club.

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The striker has previously expressed a desire to play overseas and with Allardyce looking for someone to provide forward cover for Sam Baldock, the Japanese frontman could fit the bill.

However, despite Maeda having made 11 appearances for his country this year, including scoring in his last match against Tajikistan, there may still be problems obtaining a work permit for the player.

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Another player rumoured to be interesting Allardyce is Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha.

The 19-year-old, who was born in the Ivory Coast, has shone over the past 12 months at Selhurst Park and is widely tipped to be a Premier League star of the future.

Allardyce is keen to strengthen his wide options that allow him to play his favoured 4-3-3 formation and Zaha would slot in perfectly as he can play on either wing.

However, one potential stumbling block in the deal will be the estimated �5million price tag that the Eagles have put on their rising talent.

The West Ham boss has already told the club’s owners Davids Sullivan and Gold that he needs funds to boost his side’s push for promotion in the January window, and is is thought that the Hammers are set to test Palace’s resolve to keep hold of Zaha, with a �3m bid.

One player being linked with a departure from Upton Park is Mark Noble.

The midfielder is rumoured to be attracting interest from Fulham boss Martin Jol, with a possible swap deal involving Bobby Zamora even being suggested.

However, it is understood that the Hammers are keen to keep hold of the 24-year-old and are not looking to sell any first-team players next month.

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