The Hammers- having gained a work permit for Monaco striker Lacina Traore – are now set to hammer out personal terms with the 6ft 8in striker.
Although the Londoners now look certain to sign the player Claretandhugh has learned that personal terms still have to be agreed.
That’s why a deal was agreed late last night to offer Carlton Cole an 18-month contract to ensure the club was never again without striker back-up.
Sources inside the club have told us exclusively that talks will soon be underway with Traore and that a deal of around £45,000 a week is in the pipeline.
But he has not played since October and will take a couple of weeks to get up to speed – thus there is no urgency to getting the deal finalised.
A source told us exclusively: “We wouldn’t have come this far in getting a work permit if we weren’t pretty certain we couldn’t get the deal done on personal terms.
“There was a long discussion about whether Carlton should be offered a short or long term deal and it wasn’t until late on Tuesday night we decided to go for the 18 months.
“We can’t leave the club in a situation again where we are left with only one striker on our books.”