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Could one of this trio be West Ham’s ‘strange’ striker signing?

| 20.01.2016

David Sullivan set fans of West Ham something of a riddle during an interview with Sky Sports on Tuesday in regards to the club’s transfer dealings.

After confirming that a deal to bring Leeds defender Sam Byram to Upton Park is imminent, the club’s chairman suggested that work is being done to tie up a loan move for a striker.

While he didn’t name names, there were some clues given by the 66-year-old:

“We are signing from a very strange league, but he has played in higher leagues,” he said.

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. I can’t tell you which league because then you’ll know exactly who it is.”

That sent speculation into overdrive as the press and fans alike set about to solving the puzzle of the Hammers’ mystery man.

And in the hours that have followed three names have surfaced as potential candidates…

Andre-Pierre Gignac

Linked with the Hammers in the summer, the 30-year-old opted to head to Mexico to sign a deal with Tigres instead.

He has certainly thrived in the Liga MX, netting 16 goals in 22 games as he pushes for a spot in France’s Euro 2016 squad, but a move to the Premier League would surely enhance that further.

The former Toulouse man would certainly be easily identifiable were Sullivan to disclose that it was the Mexican league that West Ham were set to raid.

Linking up with Dimitri Payet, whom he played alongside at Marseille would certainly leave Irons fans licking their lips at the prospect of a reunion.

Emmanuel Emenike

Another who in the past has emerged as a target for the east London club, Emenike is currently on loan at Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates.

The pacey striker has netted seven goals in 11 games for the club in the Gulf League, taking them up to top-spot in the table.

A move to the Premier League would obviously be a massive jump in quality and with the player failing to surpass 25 league appearances in any of the last five seasons, his injury record must be called into question.

Ishak Belfodil

The former Lyon man is also enjoying his football in the warmer climes of the Gulf, this time at Baniyas Club.

An Algerian international, Belfodil has spent time in both Ligue 1 and Serie A, with his spell at Parma in 2012-13 arguably his most successful.

While he hasn’t been exactly prolific in his career – 28 goals in 140 league appearances – his ability to play anywhere across the front three will provide Slaven Bilic with plenty of options up top.

He may be the youngest of the trio, but he looks the least likely with David Sullivan suggesting they are looking for a 20-goal-a-season striker in the long term.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.