West Ham strike out in search for new forward

West Ham will continue their efforts to sign a striker this week despite failing to land a forward before the closure of the transfer window

By JONATHAN CLEGG

West Ham will continue their efforts to sign a striker this week despite failing to clinch a deal for a frontline forward before the closure of the transfer window.

The Hammers have spent all summer attempting to bolster their strikeforce and manager Gianfranco Zola reiterated his desire for more firepower after the goalless draw at Blackburn last Saturday.

But despite offloading James Collins to Aston Villa for �5m to raise funds, the club's attempts to recruit a new striker before Tuesday's 5pm deadline were scuppered when a last-minute deal fell through.


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West Ham had hoped to complete the signing of Morocco international Marouane Chamakh from Bordeaux, but were unable to finalise a move after the 26-year-old opted to remain in France until January.

And the Hammers confirmed that late bid to lure another forward - believed to be Manchester City's Benjani - also fell through before the window closed.

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"Attempts were made on Tuesday to finalise negotiations for another forward. Terms were agreed with the selling club but the player was unwilling to join," said a club statement.

Though the club did snap up playmaker Alessandro Diamanti from Livorno last week, Zola remains keen to add an out-and-out forward to his squad. Carlton Cole is currently the only senior striker at Upton Park with Premier League experience.

The closure of the transfer window means any deal would have to be a free transfer and former Newcastle hitman Mark Viduka is understood to have emerged as a possible target. Ex-Celtic forward Jan Venegoor of Hesselink is another possibility.

"Gianluca Nani and Gianfranco Zola are now discussing the possibility of an out of contract striker joining the club, who has been tracked in the past month," the club confirmed.

West Ham lost one attacking player on Monday when the club agreed a player-plus-cash deal to send Germany Under-20 international Savio to Fiorentina.

The Hammers have received �3m and Portugal Under-21 defender Manuel Da Costa (pictured) in exchange for Savio, who joined from Brescia in a �5.5m move in January but failed to settle in England.

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