Ever since Uruguayan minnows Deportivo Maldonado swooped for Jonathan Calleri, it was clear his future was in Europe and after months of gossip and rumour, the 22-year-old confirmed to ESPN on Friday that a move to West Ham United was complete.
The striker has spent the last six months on loan with São Paulo, when a January move to Italy or England could not be established, and ended his spell at the Estádio do Morumbi with 16 goals from 31 appearances and the leading scorer in this year’s Copa Libertadores.
This window brought with it fresh interest from Europe and in the last two weeks, West Ham were the club most closely linked, with only reported issues over the player’s passport holding up a move.
Calleri, currently in Rio de Janeiro as part of the Olympic squad, spoke on Friday to ESPN and confirmed, “My transfer to West Ham is closed.”
“I hope I adapt quickly, I wanted to play in Europe,” added the former Boca Juniors striker.
It is understood that Calleri will move on a one-year loan deal without there being any option to buy at this point.
The transfer is arguably eight months overdue but despite going through the complications of being bought by a third-party, sent to ‘bridge-club’ Deportivo Maldonado, and then spending months on loan, Calleri has seen his profile rise and finally make the step.
The All Boys academy graduate will lead the line for Argentina at the Olympics before heading to London and although far from the finished article, Calleri should bring a little excitement to West Ham supporters.
Calleri featured prominently in our countdown of best Argentine youngsters this year, and having seen the positive impact that Slaven Bilic had on his compatriot Manuel Lanzini, there is optimism that the centre forward could really develop this year at the Olympic Stadium.