By Joe Ellis

25th May, 2022 | 12:40pm

West Ham United lead race to sign Valentin Castellanos from New York City

West Ham United have moved into “pole position” to sign New York City’s top goalscorer Valentin Castellanos this summer, according to The Mirror.

The 23-year-old was the golden boot winner in Major League Soccer (MLS) last season with 22 goals in 35 games and won the coveted Most Valuable Player award as a result.

He’s continued his fine form into 2022 as well with seven goals in ten matches so far which has brought him to the attention of the Hammers as well as Argentinian side River Plate.

They are looking to replace Manchester City-bound Julian Alvarez but the £12.8million asking price that NYCFC have put on Castellanos is proving to be the big stumbling block.

That won’t be an issue for the Irons though and Castellanos would be keen to make the move so he can try and force his way into the Argentina national team before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Worth a punt

Moyes doesn’t necessarily have to buy a striker that will come in and bench Michail Antonio after another solid campaign for the Jamaican but he does need a challenger and someone he can call upon when the 31-year-old needs a break.

Castellanos can be just that, to begin with at least, and he is probably the cheapest available option who would still do a good job and be a worthy understudy to Antonio.

There will be a view to the 23-year-old eventually taking over from Antonio in the next couple of years and being the club’s number one man to lead the line and he’s proved in the States that he can do that.

But the step up from the MLS to the Premier League is an enormous one and he will need plenty of time to adjust which is why his £12.8million valuation is fair enough and it will certainly be an investment by the club that could either pay off as a profit when he’s sold or in goals he scores on the pitch.

In other West Ham news, one of the club’s defensive targets has already flown back to his home after being in London for talks over a move to the London Stadium.

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