West Ham leading the race for the MLS golden boot winner, Valentin Castellanos, as New York City sets the asking price

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West Ham United are now in pole position to sign New York City striker Valentin Castellanos since Argentine giants River Plate were unable to meet the 23-year-old’s £12.8 million asking price.

Castellanos has become a talisman for Manchester City’s American sister club, NYCFC, and River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo wants him to replace Julian Alvarez, who is set to join Manchester City this summer. The Buenos Aires-based club, on the other hand, cannot afford NYCFC’s asking price, which won’t be a problem for the Hammers.

After finishing seventh in the Premier League, manager David Moyes wants to add more goals to his team’s effort next season, and Castellanos is seen as a risk worth taking at the price NYCFC is demanding.

Last season, Castellanos won the Golden Boot with 19 goals and eight assists before scoring in all three play-off games as NYCFC won its first MLS title. He was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player after scoring seven goals in ten games this season.

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The Argentina’s Under-23 international started his career in the Universidad de Chile youth system. When Montevideo Torque took him to Uruguay, he was quickly snapped up by another club in the City Football Group.

Before joining the MLS in 2018, Castelanos aided Torque in gaining promotion. He is under contract with NYCFC until 2025 but has already expressed interest in moving on to pursue a career abroad.

When River Plate began looking for a replacement for Alvarez in March, he admitted that he wanted to return to Argentina in order to attract the attention of national team coach Lionel Scaloni.

According to Castellanos, “It would help my chances if Argentina’s head coach was aware that I was playing for River Plate, one of the country’s biggest clubs. River has been in contact with me and my agent regularly.”

Moyes, the Hammers’ manager, is looking for more firepower after qualifying for the Europa Conference League. West Ham played 56 games last season and are heading back to Europe. Jarrod Bowen led the team in scoring 18 goals across all competitions, followed by Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma with 13 and 11 goals, respectively.

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