West Ham United's need to strengthen their striking options has heightened after Ligue 1 club St Etienne declared their interest in signing Hammers striker Modibo Maiga.
Andy Carroll secured his permanent move to east London in June when West Ham paid Liverpool £15m for his services, but the club are yet to add another striker to their ranks despite being deprived of other options up front.
After ridding themselves of Carlton Cole and loanees Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista during the summer, Carroll and Maiga are the club's only established presences up front ahead of the new campaign.
The club's dearth of strikers is exacerbated in that the former Liverpool and Newcastle United striker due to miss the club's season opener against Cardiff City on Saturday, which may leave the club with little choice but to delve back into the transfer market should St Etienne tempt West Ham with an offer for 25-year-old Maiga.
"Maiga is a player we have studied," St Etienne's CEO Roland Romeyer told beIN SPORT.
"Maiga is one of the options we have looked at, but there are other players. We will make a signing as soon as possible."
St Etienne themselves are searching for strikers capable of leading their attacking line having sold last season's leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Borussia Dortmund in the summer for €13m.
Maiga would appear to fit the bill and could be offered a route out of east Upton Park despite having spent just one season in the Premier League where he registered four goals.
Despite his disappointing return last season, the Mali international is likely to be Sam Allardyce's only option to lead the line against Malky Mackay's Cardiff side. Carroll has not featured in any of West Ham's pre-season games due to a heel injury he suffered against Reading on the final day of the 2012/13 season.
Speaking last month, Sam Allardyce feared the 24-year-old will not be able to return to the first team until after the new season's first international break in September, with his lack of match fitness the source of his manager's concern.
First team coach Ian Hendon has hinted the striker may return to action sooner than that, but believes the visit of the newly promoted Bluebirds will come to soon.
"We don't think he's going to make it," Hendon is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "The original injury was eight to 12 weeks. He's chomping at the bit but we must do what's right."