Don’t be shocked if West Ham striker’s season is nine-games long

Little has gone right for West Ham this season, whether that be their dreadful start on the pitch, a raft of injuries to key men or unwanted headlines from fan behaviour.

Hidden among all of that gloom is the fact that their big-name new striker, Simone Zaza, has yet to find the net in his first five appearances for the club.

On-loan from Italian giants Juventus, the Azzurri international has cut a frustrating figure for Slaven Bilic’s side.

In his four Premier League outings thus far, Zaza has managed to fire a measly six shots at goal. That’s the same number as centre-back James Collins and a whopping 21 fewer than Michail Antonio, who leads the team with 27.

Should form like that continue it would be no surprise to see the 25-year-old dropped to the bench before long. However, there could be another reason why the Policoro native’s season is cut short.

According to media reports in Italy, West Ham are obligated to make their loan deal for Zaza permanent after he has made 10 appearances for them.

The east Londoners revealed upon signing the striker that a permanent fee of €20m would automatically be triggered after a certain number of games.

The club never actually disclosed what that figure was, but according to the player’s agent the magic number is 10.

That means that unless the 14-cap international starts firing soon, West Ham decision-makers may opt to throw him into shadows to avoid shelling out on an expensive flop.

Zaza’s latest opportunity to break his Hammers duck, in his sixth outing, will come after the international break against Crystal Palace. It’s 23/10 that the Irons win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing


Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.