West Ham United enquire about red hot £17.5million Italy striker Mateo Retegui
West Ham have “already asked for information” on man of the moment Italy international Mateo Retegui, la Gazzetta dello Sport reports.
The 23-year-old burst onto the international scene over the break from domestic action with a goal in each of the Azzurri’s matches, including a debut consolation strike in the 2-1 defeat to England on Thursday (23 March).
The Boca Juniors forward had grabbed Roberto Mancini’s attention with his excellent scoring form on loan at Tigre in Argentina, where he has netted 29 times in 51 appearances.
That, along with his eye-catching international break, has now got a host of clubs in Italy and around Europe interested in a transfer, and according to Gazzetta his loan side are set to purchase 50% of his rights for just €1.5million [£1.31million] before the two Argentine outfits look to hold an auction.
Now that his name has “exploded” over the front pages Inter, AC Milan and Lazio are all positioning themselves for a move, while Atletico Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt are both in the race.
But with his price having already “skyrocketed” to as much as €20million [£17.5million] it is the spending power of the Premier League which has Italian sides nervous, and the Hammers are the first on the scene from England.
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Second roll of the dice
With the well-documented struggles of the last big-money Italian striker, Gianluca Scamacca, drumming up interest in Serie A over a return to his home country in the summer it may be that West Ham are looking to get straight back on the horse with a replacement.
At the very least it seems likely that Michail Antonio will be gone at the end of the season, having come close to an exit in January before injuries made it impossible to let him go.
Argentina-born Retegui has been in excellent form in South America but has emerged from relative obscurity in Europe as Mancini looked to address the paucity of Italian options at striker, not least due to Scamacca’s unhappy situation in East London.
With Boca and Tigre apparently gearing up to sell to the highest bidder there is every likelihood that the Irons could be that club if they have sufficient interest, given the financial muscle in the English top flight compared to the Italian.
But the club has to stay in the division before any such transfers can be properly attempted, and the Hammers are going to have to make a decision on David Moyes either way because the recent record of expensive goalscoring acquisitions is not encouraging under the Scot.
Despite the arrival of Danny Ings in January it would be no surprise to see striker remain on the agenda this summer and Retegui has emerged as a possible candidate.