West Ham betting £24m gets guaranteed goals with Juve man

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West Ham to finish in the top six

Slaven Bilic will see the third new striker of the summer arrive when Simone Zaza becomes a West Ham player later on today.

After signing Manchester United youngster Ashley Fletcher and Argentine front man Jonathan Calleri on loan, the Italian will take the Hammers’ striking options to six alongside Enner Valencia, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho.

The latter two are both injured, with Sakho thought to be agitating for a move away from the London Stadium. But if that departure doesn’t take place, Bilic will be sorely oversubscribed up front when all parties are fit.

Nevertheless, a fee thought to be around £24m has been agreed for Zaza, who will have just a medical and personal terms standing in the way of a move to the Premier League.

For that money, which would break the club’s transfer record for the second time in this window, there will be lofty expectations for goals. Luckily for the former Azzurri international, those are his speciality.

After bagging 18 on loan with Serie B outfit Ascoli Picchio in 2012/13, the 25-year-old earned a co-ownership switch to Sassuolo and Juventus. He netted nine for the former in his debut campaign in the top flight the following season.

Eleven followed in 2014/15, causing Juventus’ to take up their option to sign Zaza as part of their co-ownership agreement last season. Despite featuring largely as a substitute, Zaza repaid them with five strikes.

He’ll be catapulted back into a starting role in east London however and has a reputation for getting on the end of moves, rather than being heavily involved in them.

The Policoro native has never had more than three assists in a Serie A season, averages 13.5 passes-per-game in all competitions since 2013/14 and doesn’t look to dribble with a career tally of 0.5-per-match.

Arriving with a hefty fee hanging over him, Zaza will need to score a number of goals to make it worthwhile, because he’ll contribute little else.

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

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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.