Football NewsSaturday 17th December 2016

Hot Football Transfer Gossip: West Ham 'target Batshuayi' (again), Chelsea 'chase Verrati', City 'want Van Dijk'

Hot Football Transfer Gossip: West Ham 'target Batshuayi' (again), Chelsea 'chase Verrati', City 'want Van Dijk'

That amazing time Michy Batshuayi scored against Bristol Rovers.

So it looks as if West Ham are going to spend the winter transfer window doing exactly the same thing as they did in the summer transfer window – trying to sign a striker. And, actually, it looks as if it’s going to be the same striker – Michy Batshauyi.

The £30m Belgian was top of the Hammers’ wish list when they began their quest for a goal machine back in May, followed by Alexandre Lacazette, then Jamie Vardy, then Callum Wilson, then Carlos Bacca, and so on and so on until eventually you get to Simone Zaza.

But he’s been rubbish – and in fact he is set to cut short his £4m loan deal and return to Juventus in January (Juvenews) – so Slaven Bilic is heading back to the top of the list to try again.

Batshuayi, as we know, ended up signing for Chelsea because he thought they were better than West Ham. And he was right, but unfortunately the Blues have also turned out to be better than him.

With Diego Costa banging in the goals on a weekly basis, Batshuayi has yet to start a Premier League game and the Sun says the 23-year-old is “growing frustrated” with life on the bench.

This time, West Ham are reportedly going trying to sign him on loan. Which is perfect because it means that they spend all of next summer’s transfer window trying to sign a striker too.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s top target for January – according to the Mail – is Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verrati. Owner Roman Abramovich is apparently ready to “bankroll” the Blues’ bid for the Premier League title, and is prepared to pay over £30m for the 24-year-old Italian international.

The Times offers a slightly different version of events, saying the man Antonio Conte has earmarked to replace the China-bound Oscar is Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayako. The 22-year-old French midfielder would cost “about £40m”. It doesn’t really matter – the Blues are getting such a silly amount of money for Oscar that they could buy four replacements for him.

Manchester City, however, are not going to sign any players in January according to the Mirror, but are going to sign Virgil van Dijk in January according to the Telegraph – although the broadsheet adds that Pep Guardiola will wait until the end of the month before buying him, just to see if his defence improves in the meantime.

Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho has made Benfica defender Victor Lindelof his “number one transfer target” (Mirror), Belgian side Genk are trying to persuade their Nigerian starlet Wilfred Ndidi not to join Leicester (Leicester Mercury) and Tony Pulis wants Saido Berahino to stay at West Brom but is “bracing himself” for another transfer saga in January (Express and Star). You and us both, Tone.