West Ham and Fulham to scrap over Ivory Coast strike star
After scoring 26 goals in just 24 appearances for Vitesse Arnhem this season, Wilfried Bony was bound to attract attention from outside the Dutch top flight.
Sure enough, Premier League interest in the striker has become apparent, with West Ham and Fulham leading the chase for the 24-year-old, who is reportedly being monitored by six English clubs.
The Hammers have long been keen on the Ivory Coast international, but have thus far dallied in their efforts to sign him, something they are keen to rectify this summer.
And even after a club-record outlay of £11m on Matt Jarvis has proved anything but a shrewd investment, co-chairman David Sullivan is willing to pay more than that to secure Bony’s services.
Indeed, Vitesse would ask for around £15m for the striker, and the Hammers are intent on meeting that asking price, regardless of whether or not Sam Allardyce remains at the helm next term.
As midfielder Kevin Nolan tops the club’s scoring charts with six goals, Allardyce has long prioritised a move for a striker.
But it is believed that the pressing need for a forward hasn’t gone unnoticed by the club hierarchy either, who will still try and push the move through even if Allardyce fails to extend his contract.
Fulham are also keen to bolster their attacking options though, and with no uncertainty surrounding Martin Jol’s future, a move to a more settled Craven Cottage environment could tempt Bony.
The Cottagers’ recent tendency to bring in players with Eredivisie experience also strengthens their position, amidst the arrivals of Moussa Dembele, Bryan Ruiz and Mahamadou Diarra over the past few years.
Jol is hopeful of landing a suitable foil for Dimitar Berbatov, and in the Ivorian, dubbed in some circles as the ‘new Didier Drogba’, he believes he has found it.
Such a player would also be ideal for a Hammers outfit set to lose Andy Carroll this summer however, and with the Upton Park outfit willing to break the bank to secure Bony’s signature, they probably remain favourites to snap him up.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.