The rising power of the lesser Premier League clubs is becoming increasingly more evident with each transfer window. West Ham United have now snatched up an FC Barcelona target from Brazilian club Sao Paulo.
The Hammers have signed former Boca Juniors and Sao Paulo striker Jonathan Calleri on loan from the investor group who own his rights. The 22-year-old Argentine striker, who is in Rio Di Janiero training for the Olympic Games, recently confirmed the move to Europe.
“The transfer to West Ham is already completed,” he told ESPN, according to Goal.
“I hope I can adapt as soon as possible to the Premier League.”
The loan deal will reportedly be for 12 months and does not include a purchase option.
Calleri had a good stint with Sao Paulo since moving there in January 2016. He finished as the top scorer in the annual continental South American cup tournament the Copa Libertadores, with 9 goals in 12 appearances. The Argentine was reportedly a target for La Liga champions Barcelona, who are keen to sign a back-up for their forward trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
West Ham have made just the signing they need, as a forward was one of the primary transfer targets for them this summer. Their Senegalese striker Diafra Sakho failed to deliver the goals they needed and the Hammers have recently sold him to league rivals West Brom for a reported £15 million. They had previously tried to sign Calleri’s compatriot and their former striker Carlos Tevez, but his wage demands proved to be too excessive for them.
Calleri is not a new name to the top European clubs. Chelsea, Arsenal and Inter Milan were all reportedly interested in the striker last November. However, the situation with the financial rights of the 22-year-old is a complicated one. A triangle involving the player, Uruguayan club Deportivo Maldonando and an investor group eventually bought him from Boca Juniors and loaned him out to Sao Paolo.
The Argentine will be hoping to break into the first team at West Ham and earn enough plaudits to warrant a permanent move to one of the top European clubs.