Championship rivals Fulham and West Bromwich Albion are set to battle it out for Spezia striker M’Bala Nzola, according to beIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri.
The Angolan recorded 11 goals and four assists in 25 appearances for the Italian club in Serie A last term after their promotion to the top flight – and proved to be a vital asset to their cause as they finish six points above the drop zone.
With this, Fulham and West Brom are both reported to have made contact with Spezia regarding his services, with teams in Portgual and Turkey also interested in his availability.
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As things stand, his price tag current stands as just over €7m, a considerable amount for both Championship sides as they look to operate within the EFL’s financial rules.
With the Cottagers seemingly splashing the cash in an attempt to get back to the Premier League, reportedly closing in on an €8m deal for Rodrigo Muniz and agreeing the £12m transfer of Harry Wilson last month, this move for the 25-year-old would continue the high-spending theme at Craven Cottage this summer.
Meanwhile, the Baggies have exercised a more cautious approach to their summer business after being relegated along with Fulham last season, although the calls for a new striker in the West Midlands are growing louder by the minute.
It is currently unclear whether either side will follow up their initial interest with a bid to lure him to England between now and the transfer deadline at the end of this month.
If Fulham manage to get the Muniz deal over the line after seemingly beating Middlesbrough to his signature, it would be hard to imagine them going back in for Nzola with the likes of the Brazilian, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Bobby Decordova-Reid all available as top-quality options up top.
They may want to add one more striker to their ranks to improve their squad depth further – but this should be a cheaper and more low-key signing that can come in if an injury crisis occurs in west London.
For West Brom, this could be the ideal signing after seeing Mbaye Diagne return to Turkish top-flight side Galatasaray on the expiration of his loan deal in the summer.
Although recruiting Nzola would be a change in transfer direction from their calm and cautious approach thus far, they have the ability to splash the cash after selling one of their most valuable assets in Matheus Pereira to Al-Hilal this summer.
And considering his record in the Italian top flight last term, this signing could be key to their promotion hopes, as long as the Angolan can adapt to Valerien Ismael’s distinct style of play. Nzola’s ability to operate as a winger could also be valuable to the Baggies’ cause.