Gianfranco Zola hopes to complete a �7m deal for Marouane Chamakh
Gianfranco Zola hopes to end his long search for a new striker by completing a �7m deal for Bordeaux ace Marouane Chamakh by the end of the week
By JONATHAN CLEGG
Gianfranco Zola hopes to end his long search for a new striker by completing a �7m deal for Bordeaux ace Marouane Chamakh by the end of the week.
West Ham have been given a deadline of next Monday to finalise a deal for the 25-year-old Moroccan international as the French club hold out for a substantial fee.
But the Hammers remain confident that they can win the race for the highly rated hitman, who saw a potential move to Arsenal fall through last week.
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Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had identified Chamakh as a possible replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor, but was put off by the �7m fee for a player whose contract expires next summer.
Chamakh, who has scored three goals in Bordeaux's opening two Ligue 1 matches this season, is keen on a move to the Premier League and has expressed his frustration at Bordeaux's reluctance to sell him.
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He said: "Of course the transfer window isn't shut but I am pessimistic about my chances of going.
"West Ham are the latest to come in. It's only in the past week that they have shown an interest.
"But I am seeing what happened with Arsenal all over again - the problem is Bordeaux, so it is very tricky.
"I will wait until Monday before there is an announcement [but] my chances are reducing more and more and I expect to stay."
But West Ham are hopeful that a deal can be pushed through by the end of the week, with Zola desperate for attacking reinforcements ahead of the club's derby matches against Spurs on Sunday and Millwall in the Carling Cup next Tuesday.
Carlton Cole was the only recognised first-team striker in the squad for the Hammers' 2-0 win at Wolves last weekend and Zola admitted that signing a new forward is his top priority.
"It would not do us any harm if we had some more strike force," Zola said.
"I'm sure that the club is doing everything they can to fill that space for a striker. I rely on them and we'll see what happens."
The Hammers had hoped to raise some additional funds by selling James Collins to Stoke this week, but the deal is now in doubt despite the two clubs agreeing a �5m fee.