Hammers eye Spanish swoop
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Premiership new boys West Ham United have been linked with a twin raid on La Liga.Premiership new boys West Ham United have been linked with a twin raid on La Liga.
The Hammers are looking to bolster their squad after clinching a return to the top flight and have reportedly targeted Albert Celades and Sergi Barjuan.
Real Madrid midfielder Celades is likely to leave Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer in the summer and is understood to have an offer from West Ham.
Celades is giving serious consideration to the bid but there is likely to be strong interest from across Europe in the 29-year-old.
Greek giants Panathinaikos are willing to match Celades' pay packet, while Espanyol, Real Betis and Middlesbrough have been credited with an interest.
Clubs in Italy are also monitoring Celades' situation and West Ham will have to come up with a tempting offer if they are to persuade the midfielder to move to Upton Park.
The London club's enquiry for experienced full back Sergi, though, looks doomed to failure as he is tipped to announce his retirement on Friday.
Sergi was not offered a new contract by Atletico Madrid and the 33-year-old has previously stated he will quit if he failed to earn an extension with Los Rojiblancos.
He will announce a decision on his future at a press conference on Friday but it is believed that West Ham made a late bid to persuade Sergi to postpone his retirement.
The former Barcelona defender, though, looks likely to stick by his original decision which will deal a blow to Hammers boss Alan Pardew's transfer plans.