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West Ham looking at Santa Cruz to strengthen toothless attack

| 18.08.2010

West Ham seem set to be the latest club to take advantage of the extra large squad possessed by Manchester City by acquiring Roque Santa Cruz on loan for the season.

Avram Grant is short of options in attack and sees the Paraguayan frontman as the perfect partner for Carlton Cole.

Cole, Benni McCarthy and Frederic Piquionne are the only experienced strikers available to Grant and he watched his side provide little in the way of an attacking threat as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.

More performances in this vein could leave them battling relegation come the end of the season and they are currently 9/2 to drop into the Championship.

An Upton Park source has told the Daily Mail that West Ham were considering making a bid to buy Santa Cruz, but an inability to sell players during the current transfer window have left funds tight.

The source said: “The club want him on a 12-month loan with an option to buy next summer. We are keen to add a striker despite the financial restrictions.

“Had it not been for injuries, which have meant we cannot move players on at the moment, we might have tried to do a permanent deal.”

Santa Cruz may be keen to move as he is one of the big names projected to miss out on a place within Roberto Mancini’s 25-man Premier League squad.

Mario Balotelli has already been recruited this summer, while Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor are other strikers virtually guaranteed to be selected.

If a deal is reached, it is unlikely that it will happen fast enough for Santa Cruz to feature in West Ham’s next Premier League game at home to Bolton.

They are 6/5 to pick up the three points and gain revenge for the 2-1 defeat they suffered at Upton Park against Owen Coyle’s team last season.

It is 10/1 for this season’s fixture to finish in the same manner.

Blackpool remain the heavy favourites to get relegated at 1/4 despite winning their opening Premier League game 4-0 at Wigan.



Ed Needham