Valencia sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch has revealed that Andre Gomes's decision to move to Barcelona instead of Juventus blocked the arrival of Simone Zaza during the summer transfer window. However, the club chief suggests that Los Che could make a new attempt for the Italian striker in January, after he failed to make any impact during his current loan spell at West Ham United.
Andre Gomes was linked with Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid during the summer, before opting to join Barcelona instead in a deal worth €35m (£29.5, $37.1) deal plus €20m in add-ons – with the Catalans agreeing to pay an extra fee of €15m should the midfielder win the Ballon d'Or more than once.
The Portugal international revealed earlier this season that he turned down Real Madrid for the Catalans and now the Valencia sporting director has added that the Juventus interest in the player was also real.
Garcia Pitarch says Los Che were interested in a swap deal with the Serie A giants that would have seen Zaza moving to Valencia, but Gomes's decision to move to Barcelona hijacked that switch – and the striker instead joined West Ham.
"Zaza is a player that I tried to sign this summer at all costs but I couldn't achieve it because his arrival meant Andre joining Juventus," the Valencia chief admitted during an interview with Plaza Deportiva. "Andre wanted to go to Barcelona and hence our three negotiations with Juventus for their players [Mario] Lemina, Hernanes and Zaza ended."
West Ham took advantage of the situation to lure Zaza on loan to London later in the summer, keeping an option to make the move permanent for a further £20m if he made a set number of appearances for the club.
But the Italian forward has since struggled to adapt to the Premier League, failing to score a single goal for West Ham in 11 appearances.
Reports in recent days have claimed the Hammers are likely to part ways with him and Valencia's chief has now suggested that they could offer Zaza a escape route in January if the striker agrees to reduce his salary demands.
Asked whether Valencia would be still interested in the West Ham flop, Pitarch added: "Basically the biggest challenge is that the salary that he has at West Ham is absolutely exorbitant, but that could be negotiated. I don't know what the [new] coach [Cesare Prandelli] thinks about this, but if we could reduce his wages, he is a player that we can evaluate."