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In the middle of May, Slaven Bilić said West Ham United were targeting ‘quality over quantity’ in the summer transfer window. At that point, signing Pablo Zabaleta on a free after his spell at Manchester City was their only move.

Although there was plenty of time left on the clock, a lot of names had been mentioned and it had been a summer of frustration for Hammers fans.

“We want to improve,” the Croatian boss confirmed. “We don’t need squad players and all that as we have enough of them.  OK, if someone goes we can refresh the team, but what we need is a couple of real [high quality] players who can improve our game.”

Then like the best London buses, three players arrived all at once. Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez all signing up to play at the London Stadium next season, but it doesn't look like the Croatian boss is quite finished.

Rumours at the weekend suggested the East Londoners were eyeing up another Mexican forward, turning their attention to Benfica’s Raúl Jiménez.

The 26-year-old became the most expensive player in Portuguese football history when the Eagles bought the remaining 50 per cent of his rights last year.

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Before moving to Portugal from Atletico Madrid in 2015, he was heavily linked with a loan move to Upton Park. However, after talks with his agent, Jorge Mendes, and the Lisbon club, Jiménez never turned up for his West Ham medical, despite already receiving a work permit.

At the time, Atletico said the player had slept in and missed his flight. Amazingly, he would seal a move to Benfica.

Last summer, they paid a further £19.6million to secure the other 50 per cent of his deal, but it looks like he is available again this summer. Apparently, Everton had a £39million bid turned down earlier in the window, making it likely, the Hammers would have to top that to force a deal.


Last season, on the back of knee, groin and ankle injuries, the Mexican forward made 32 appearances, scoring 11 times. Not an amazing return, but when you break it down to a goal every 107.4 minutes, it stacks up well.

Harry Kane scored every 90.1 minutes and Chicharito managed to find the net every 203 minutes. Both those players featured for more minutes, but it shows with time, Raúl Jiménez has potential.

Arnautovic, although not an out and out forward, managed just seven goals for Stoke City last term, that's 423 minutes per strike, but he offers much more than a goal-scoring threat.

He has Premier League experience, playing 125 times, with 22 goals and 27 assists. His versatility and ability to play all-across the attack, could be the key in bringing the Hammers attack together.

Before leaving the Premier League, Chicharito created himself a reputation as a deadly finisher, scoring 37 goals in 49 starts.

It was in the Bundesliga where he improved his standing, but this time as a man who finds the back of the net from the start. In 56 games, 45 starts, the 29-year-old he bagged 28 for Bayer Leverkusen.


Depending on what formation Bilić decides to play, Jiménez, with his Mexican strike-partner, could create an old-fashioned big man, little man duo.

Standing around 6-foot-2-inches tall, the 26-year-old is a physical specimen and a handful in the penalty box. He can use his head, throwing it into dangerous areas.

What he does well is chase the defence when they are in possession, using his pace and tenacity to close down and win the ball in dangerous areas.

The Mexican is by no means a target-man in the Andy Carroll mould, he moves well, plays off the shoulder of the last defender and has a good feel for making space inside the penalty area.

Raúl Jiménez has also shown good foot-work, able to shift the ball from either side, to finish on his stronger right foot.

Just this summer, playing for his country in the Confederations Cup, there was a great example of his movement and finishing ability.

Watching the play develop on the left, when it comes centrally he has the sense to make a half-yard on the edge of the box, then turns and finishes beautifully with his right-foot.

Quite often his space will see him drift wide, on either side and that doesn't leave him isolated, or without an idea of what to do. Able to get his head up, he may not have the best record for assists, just four in 47 games for Benfica, but he can pick out a cross, or a square ball for on-rushing strikers.

The valuation of players is changing, if Neymar is worth £196million and Kylian Mbappé £160million, who says the Benfica player isn’t worth a £44million bid? There is obvious potential in the player; that’s why Atletico Madrid signed him and that’s why Benfica made him a permanent addition in 2015.

It’s not quite happened the way the player or club would have imagined and with Benfica enjoying their pre-season in England – playing in the Emirates Cup – president Luís Filipe Vieira is using it to try and make a profit on their centre-forward.

The speculation so far is based on a tweet from Italian journalist Tancredi Palmieri, not the most decorated of sources, but there is often no smoke without fire and he would fit West Ham and complete their quadrant of strikers needed for a push up the table.

Bilić said he wanted quality, not quantity and with Raúl Jiménez, the jury is still out, but if it works out, he could just be the sort of addition the Hammers need and the forward to get the best out of the other quality signings they’ve made this summer.

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