Things finally went awry for West Ham in Europa League qualifying, with Slaven Bilic’s side following up lacklustre two-legged victories over Andorran and Maltese small fry with a 2-2 draw at home to Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu, having been 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go.
It turned into an awful night for the Irons, with James Collins becoming their third player already this season to be shown a red card, following Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins’ dismissals against Lusitanos and Birkirkara respectively, while Bilic also received his marching orders late on.
More bad news looks on the way for the east Londoners, with Ecuadorian forward Enner Valencia, signed for £15m last summer and the first goalscorer on the night, carried off on a stretcher after falling awkwardly, which his boss admitted was due to a suspected serious knee injury.
With Andy Carroll out until at least October and probably beyond, West Ham’s hunt for increased firepower looks set to intensify, and recent reports have linked the club with a move for Atletico Madrid hitman Raul Jimenez.
The Daily Mail initially reported that the Mexico international could move to the Boleyn Ground on loan, but the Sun believes a £10m permanent transfer is now in the offing for a player who started just four La LIga matches last season, after joining Los Colchoneros from Club America in August.
Jimenez was in useful form for his country at the recent Copa America, bagging twice in three matches en route to El Tri’s group-stage exit, but didn’t make former coach Miguel Herrera’s vastly-changed squad ahead of Mexico’s CONCACAF Cup victory.
The black and yellow boys and girls at bwin.com price up Jimenez at 2/5 to still be an Atleti player by the time the transfer window closes, with a move to West Ham in the requisite time period available at 7/4.
Bilic’s side have also been linked with Jimenez’s fellow Mexico striker Javier Hernandez, of Manchester United, Roma’s Mattia Destro, Liverpool’s Fabio Borini and QPR’s Charlie Austin since the end of last season.