West Ham 'Leading the Race' for Montpellier Striker Gaetan Laborde

Robbie Copeland
Gaetan Laborde has enjoyed a fruitful season in Ligue 1
Gaetan Laborde has enjoyed a fruitful season in Ligue 1 / PASCAL GUYOT/Getty Images

West Ham are leading the race to sign Montpellier striker Gaetan Laborde, with the club willing to part ways for a fee in the region of £11m, according to reports in France.

The Irons are thought to on the lookout for a new front-man in January to compete with Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller in the final third. Antonio started the season with three goals in six matches, but has managed just 45 minutes since due to injury, and £45m Haller has struggled to fill the void.

The big Frenchman has six goals in all competitions this season, but four of them came in successive braces against lower league opposition in the EFL Cup, and it's believed that David Moyes wants a third option to keep him on his toes.

L'Equipe claim this has led West Ham to France, in particular to Montpellier, where Laborde has been a central part of an impressive start to the season. He has been directly involved in eight goals, starting every one of their 13 matches as they sit fifth in Ligue 1.

They say that Montpellier are verging on a financial crisis as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and will have to sell one of their key assets sooner rather than later to balance the books. Laborde, who is just hitting his peak at 26, is seen as one of their most sellable stars, and they feel they can raise around €12m (£11m) by parting ways with the striker.

Laborde doesn't appear to be the most clinical striker - his best season total since joining Montpellier was 13 in 2018/19 and he has hit the net just three times so far - but he is at the heart of everything they do going forward.

Laborde fires in against Nice
Laborde fires in against Nice / PASCAL GUYOT/Getty Images

He plays as a foil to more regular goalscorer Andy Delort, often starting from wide positions and drifting inside to make things happened. He managed a hat-trick of assists against Angers earlier in the season doing just that, and is renowned as one of the most selfless forwards in France.

That said, he is far from goal-shy - he's hit the back of the net at a rate of a goal every four games since the start of 2018/19, netting 21 in 84 appearances.