West Ham United might just have pipped Chelsea to the post in the race to sign Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez.
Both sides were believed to be in the running to land the former Manchester United striker, with managers Antonio Conte and Slaven Bilic both looking for proven goalscorers ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.
However, while Chelsea are reportedly focussed on more high-profile targets such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sergio Aguero, according to Mexican newspaper Publimetro (via the Daily Express) the Hammers have had positive talks with Hernandez’s representatives, and are confident of luring the player in on a hefty £145k per-week contract.
The East London side are thought to have the advantage over their London rivals Chelsea, as they could offer Hernandez regular first-team football, as well as a bumper contract.
The Mexican international has previously experience in the Premier League, having played for Manchester United between 2010 and 2014. Nicknamed ‘Chicharito’, the striker scored 59 goals in 157 appearances while playing a bit-part role for the Red Devils. Now at Bayer Leverkusen, Hernández has scored 39 goals in 76 games.
West Ham are desperate to bolster their forward line in the summer transfer window, after selling striker Enner Valencia to Mexican side Tigres. The fitness of injury-plagued forward Andy Carroll remains an ongoing issue, while Diafra Sakho and André Ayew are yet to impress at their cavernous new home, the London Stadium.
Chelsea are in a similarly dire need of a forward, given that current first-choice striker Diego Costa is beyond unlikely to remain at Stamford Bridge next season. While Conte and the Chelsea recruitment hierarchy are chasing a high-profile candidate to replace the fiery Spaniard, names like Hernandez and Swansea’s Fernando Llorente have also been mooted as cover optio.