Where are they now? West Ham targets from last striker hunt

Former West Ham target Carlos Bacca.
Former West Ham target Carlos Bacca. /
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Since moving to London Stadium in 2016, West Ham have been linked to a number of big name forward signings that fans hoped would take them to that promised “next level”.

Whilst the Hammers have signed the likes of Simone Zaza, Javier Hernandez and Sebastien Haller during that time, none have lived up to that billing as the club continue their hunt for that star striker.

The most success that West Ham have garnered in the goal-scoring department since their move from the Boleyn Ground has in fact been when converting struggling wide forwards to the central striker role, as David Moyes has successfully managed to transform both Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio into lethal number nine’s.

With such a record from the Scottish manager, it could be argued that West Ham don’t need to spend big on a marquee striker as he continues to find hidden gems from within.

Regardless, lets take a look at some of the near-misses that slipped through the Hammers’ grasp during the last five years.

Former West Ham target Carlos Bacca.
Former West Ham target Carlos Bacca.. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Carlos Bacca

After such a memorable and successful final season at Upton Park, West Ham were looking for a striker to push the club on even further as they transitioned through moving stadiums.

Dimitri Payet had just come off the back of a magnificent Euro 16 campaign and was considered to be one of the hottest talents in world football at the time, so a marquee signing for him to supply balls into was paramount for the club’s success.

Carlos Bacca was the man on everyone’s lips, as the Colombian had managed 20 goals in his debut season for Italian giants AC Milan.

The move would have been a major coup for the club, and throughout the summer of 2016, the West Ham faithful were growingly confident that they would eventually get their man.

Despite such rumours circulating for weeks on end, and his agent reportedly even travelling to London for negotiations with the Hammers, the striker decided to stay put in Milan.

Bacca had a slightly less successful second season at AC Milan, scoring “just” 14 goals, but considering West Ham’s eventual striker signing, Zaza, that summer managed a grand total of zero goals before his loan-move ended prematurely in January, the club would have almost certainly been better off with the Colombian.

He later went on to “thank God” that he stayed in Milan, such were the struggles the Hammers were facing in their new home.

Now at 34, he is playing for Villarreal in La Liga having scored 20 goals in 81 appearances for the club as he approaches the twilight years of his respectable career.