UD Las Palmas president Miguel Angel Ramirez has claimed that he is only expecting to receive the green light from West Ham to complete the arrival of Jonathan Calleri. The club chief says that the Hammers have delayed the long-expected arrival of the Argentinian forward to the La Liga outfits but he still is convinced of getting the player before the end of the current January transfer window.
The 23-year-old forward agreed a loan move to West Ham from Uruguayan outfit Deportivo Maldonado during last summer's transfer window after being the top scorer in the Copa Libertadores for Brazilian side Sao Paulo and represented Argentina in the Rio Olympics.
But the Hammers looked ready to part ways with Calleri earlier than expected after he struggled to adapt to the Premier League during the first-part of the season.
Earlier, on 9 January, Las Palmas boss Quique Setien revealed his side were ready to offer Calleri and his Deportivo Maldonado teammate Hernán Toledo a new chance to prove themselves in La Liga amid suggestions that both deals were imminent. Yet, Toledo has also enjoyed a difficult loan spell at Fiorentina during the first part of the campaign and was also likely to move to the Canary Island outfit alongside the West Ham flop.
However, Las Palmas have since failed to announce any of those transfers and Miguel Angel Ramirez has now explained the reasons of the delay during an interview with the radio of the club.
"There are two players we want and who are very close to join us: Calleri and Toledo. Everything was made public too soon and maybe they would both be here if media have not reported (about our interest in both players). I closed the contracts with Maldonado, their agents and the teams in which they are currently on loan (West Ham and Fiorentina) a month ago. We already wanted them in the summer but West Ham and Fiorentina got them instead because they paid more. I closed the deals for them to come here (in January) a month ago with all the parties but as the transfer window is now ending the clubs are now asking for more money and I will not pay more," Ramirez said.
"Last week I said they were going to arrive (in Las Palmas to complete the move). On Saturday Calleri's representative in London called us to ask why we had not made the official as everything was done. But I told him that West Ham were yet to send me an email to confirm it as now the club (West Ham) want a few more days (to make a decision). I am convinced that he will arrive but if he does not come nothing happens we will get another one."
Yet, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has already sanctioned the departure of Zaza to Valencia and is yet to sign any forward to fill his gap. This way, Calleri, who had not play in the Premier League since October, made a rare appearance in the weekend's 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough while scoring his first goal for the Hammers.