West Ham United have moved ahead of Everton in the race to sign Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite, with talks over a £18m deal now thought to be at an advanced stage.
The 29-year-old's move to Camp Nou was one of the more bizarre moments of La Liga this year. La Liga granted Barça permission to sign Braithwaite outside of the transfer window following Ousmane Dembélé's long-term injury, and the former Leganés man penned a deal until 2024 with a €300m release clause...for some reason.
The deal left Leganés without their star striker in an ultimately unsuccessful relegation battle, and Barcelona only used him for 11 games before deciding they wanted to move him on.
Links between West Ham and Braithwaite first emerged back in 2016, when the Hammers were keen to sign him from Toulouse, but they now look set to finally get their man.
Hammers boss David Moyes is looking for some more attacking options this summer. Winger Felipe Anderson is expected to be offloaded after an underwhelming campaign, and the hope is that Braithwaite will be able to fill the void in the squad.
As for Barcelona, it seems crazy that they are somehow going to actually make a profit out of this deal as well. They signed Braithwaite for £16m, got one goal out of him and are now set to pocket a cool £2m for their troubles.
Barça are desperately on the lookout for ways to raise money this summer. President Josep Maria Bartomeu recently confessed that the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak has left deals for Lautaro Martínez and Neymar almost dead in the water as they simply don't have the money anymore.
The club took a €200m loss during the pandemic and do not expect that situation to improve anytime soon, so player sales are seen as the best way to raise money.