New West Ham boss Slaven Bilic shouldn’t have too much trouble prepping his team to see off Andorran Primera Divisio runners-up Lusitanos in their Europa League first qualifying-round home leg, with bwin.com pricing up the hosts at 1/100 for the high rollers.
Bilic will have a tougher time convincing the best players available to set sail for east London this summer, especially now Financial Fair Play rules have been relaxed, with the continent’s biggest-spending clubs allowed a one-off splurge ahead of the new campaign.
West Ham have become a more attractive proposition since confirmation of their Olympic Stadium switch, due to go ahead at the end of next term, and the capture of the former Hajduk Split, Croatia, Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas boss, who spent 18 months playing at the Boleyn Ground during the 1990s, should be seen as something of a coup.
He’ll be well aware that the Irons are little more than a Premier Legaue afterthought at present though, so some creative thinking will be required while the transfer window’s open.
Roma’s seemingly unwanted striker Mattia Destro is the latest forward on the Irons’ radar, according to reports in Football Italia, although Bilic faces a fight with last year’s Champions League quarter-finalists Monaco over the 24-year-old.
The article states that the Ligue 1 club are thought to be leading the race for Destro’s signature, having already agreed a fee with the Giallorossi, but believes the player would prefer a move to England over France.
Destro holds an enviable strike rate for Roma, firing 25 times in 57 Serie A appearances since signing from Siena three summers ago, of which only 33 were starts, but has never managed to secure regular football under boss Rudi Garcia.
His temporary stay at Milan during the second half of last term, despite being linked with the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid just a few months earlier, will have helped usher Destro towards the Roma exit door.
Another transfer crumb that may be falling from Europe’s top table into West Ham’s lap is Dynamo Kyiv centre-half Aleksandar Dragovic, who has been strongly linked to both Manchester United and Arsenal since the opening of the January transfer window six months ago.
The tough-tackling Austrian, who left Basel for Ukraine two summers ago, is reportedly still on the Red Devils’ and the Gunners’ radars, but with the former linked with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Nicolas Otamendi, and the latter already well stocked in Dragovic’s position, West Ham might be the 24-year-old’s best option.
It seems £15m might be enough to snatch him from Kyiv’s grasp.