West Ham have identified a trio of world class strikers as their main transfer targets this summer, as reported by Sky Sports News HQ.

It appears we’re not messing about in our intentions to land one of Europe’s most sought after hitmen ahead of our move to the Olympic Stadium.

Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi and Alexandre Lacazette are supposedly the three strikers at the top of Slaven Bilic’s wishlist this summer, with Sky Sports News HQ claiming we’re even prepared to pay up to £40m for the privilege.

It’s no secret that the club are willing to go all out in their attempts to mark our transition to Stratford with a marquee signing in the summer, and may even be boosted by the potential pull of Champions League football should we manage see out our top four bid come May.

And the three strikers reportedly at the top of our list certainly go along way in proving the club’s ambition and determination to build on what has already been something of a ground breaking campaign in our history.

But who should we go for?

Christian Benteke

As we all know, Christian Benteke has struggled with life at Liverpool this summer but it would be totally unfair to judge a player’s ability on the basis of one poor season.

Benteke, 25, certainly earned his £32.5m move to Liverpool last summer after netting 49 goals in 101 first team appearances for Aston Villa since signing from Genk in the summer of 2012.

He has only managed eight goals in 34 appearances in all competitions this term and, given he isn’t the type of player Jurgen Klopp would normally go for (he was a Brendan Rodgers signing after all) then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sold on by Liverpool this summer.

What would he bring to the team? – Well, much like Andy Carroll, Benteke operates best as a target man who benefits from pinpoint deliveries in to the box. His aerial ability is up there with some of the best in the world, but he’s equally as good with the ball at his feet – even if his performances for Liverpool this season have suggested otherwise.

What would he cost? – Given that he is only a year in to a “long term contract” at Anfield, you can’t image Liverpool would be willing to let him go cheaply. currently value him at £22.5m, and you would half expect Klopp to try and recoup as much of the £32.5m the club paid for him almost 12 months ago.

Worth a punt? – Possibly, but you do wonder whether or not he’d bring any more to the team than Andy Carroll already does. The only difference between the two is their injury record, with Benteke more likely to remain fit for an entire season. However, with better options available in the market you’d hope he’ll be Bilic’s last resort should he not be able to secure one of the other two…

Alexandre Lacazette

Lacazette was one of the names being linked with a move to the Premier League last summer and it’s easy to see why.

The France international has netted 68 goals in all competitions since the beginning of the 2013/2014 campaign, including a 31 in 40 first team appearances for Lyon last term.

In short, he’s one of the most lethal strikers in Europe right now and it’s only a matter of time before he’s picked up by a Premier League club.

Why shouldn’t that be us? We’ll have the amazing new stadium, the exciting new manager and, hopefully, Europa League football at the very least to offer the 24-year-old this summer.

According to Sky Sports News HQ, Tottenham, Newcastle, Stoke, Juventus and Atletico Madrid have enquired about him ahead of the summer already, so we’ll have some job in tempting him to the delights of Stratford.

What would he bring to the team? – Lacazette has an eye for goal and would certainly be a huge upgrade on the likes of Diafra Sakho, who would no doubt be utilised as a back up to whichever big name striker we manage to sign in the summer. His goal record speaks for itself and he would undoubtedly benefit from the service available from the likes of Payet and Lanzini.

What would he cost? – Just like Benteke, value Lacazette at £22.5m and given that he signed an improved contract just last summer, you’d expect we’d have to stump up nearer to £30-35m in order to tempt Lyon in to selling. But you never know.

Worth a punt? – Absolutely. The striker has proven to be a lethal hitman in front of goal in Ligue 1 over the last few years and is good enough to take that kind of goal scoring form in to the Premier League. If we were to sign him, it would send out a huge statement of intent.

Michy Batshuayi

Probably everyone’s preferred signing, and there are a number of reasons why.

First off, he and Dimitri Payet clicked so well at Marseille last season and you’d have to expect Payet being used as a way of convincing the Belgium international that West Ham really is an exciting project worth signing up to.

But more important, Batshuayi is one hell of a striker who has taken Ligue 1 by storm since signing for Marseille from Standard Liege in 2014.

The 22-year-old has scored 22 Ligue 1 goals in 56 appearances since the beginning of last season and has subsequently been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe.

What would he bring to the team? – Batshuayi has pace, power, an eye for goal and already has a playing relationship with Dimitri Payet. With them two at the top of their game for us it would be quite something, injecting fear in to most defenders across Europe.

What would he cost? – He is valued at just £10.5m by, but a combination of demand, a contract that still has four years to run and the fact he’s still only 22-years-old means we would probably have to pay well over £30m for his signature.

Worth a punt? – It’s a no brainer. The sheer fact we’re even considering a move for him shows just how far we’ve come and would send out a huge statement of intent. Unfortunately we’ll have to beat a number of top class clubs across Europe for his signature, but he simply has to be at the top of Bilic’s wish list.

How do they compare with each other?

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As you can see in the table above, Batshuayi has enjoyed a far better season than our other two targets, and it’s obvious he’s more than capable of chipping in with the assists as well.

He may have played more games than the other two, but it’s evident by these numbers that he’s not afraid to go for goal – and his determination pays off more often than not.

Lacazette’s season has been relatively quiet compared to the one that had everyone talking about him last term, but 14 goals in 27 Ligue 1 games isn’t to be sniffed at.

Benteke hasn’t enjoyed any where near the same amount of playing time as the other two, and has had to settle for a number of appearances off the bench under Klopp, but his stats are still relatively impressive when you take those factors in to account.

But knowing our luck, we won’t sign any of them.

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