Over the last few days multiple media outlets have reported that West Ham could be making a move for Colombian striker Carlos Bacca. After moving to AC Milan just last summer, the 29 year old reportedly could be on his way to East London.
Finding a consistent goalscorer has been a problem for the Hammers for a while. Since coming back up from the Championship in 2012/2013, Kevin Nolan and Diafra Sakho are the only West Ham players with double digit league goals in a season and no player has scored more than 10. Nolan is now gone and Sakho is often injured and just handed in a transfer request, according to Sky Sports. Slaven Bilic will hope, if he brings Bacca in, they have finally found their consistent goalscorer.
After two seasons of 20+ goals in all competitions and two Europa League trophies at Sevilla, Bacca made a move to AC Milan last summer for a reported 30m, according to transfermarkt. He did fairly well in Milan bagging 18 league goals in 38 games.
Bacca is the definition of a penalty box striker. He’s never been known for his all around play, shown by the fact that he only created 1.17 chances per 90 minutes last season in Serie A (24th among just forwards in Serie A last year with at least 25 appearances). But when it comes to scoring goals he’s good.
In his two seasons with Sevilla and one with Milan, Bacca scored 43 non penalty goals in 6,695 minutes, or 0.57 non penalty goals per 90 minutes. That’s similar to the strike rates of Olivier Giroud (0.64 non penalty goals per 90 minutes) and Romelu Lukaku (0.48 non penalty goals per 90 minutes) over the last three seasons. It’s also much better than anything Andy Carroll (0.27 non penalty goals per 90 minutes has done in his last three seasons and anything Enner Valencia has done in his two seasons at the club (0.23 non penalty goals per 90 minutes).
Bacca’s shot numbers are a possible reason to be wary of whether his production can hold up. In his last two seasons he has not taken many shots (2.19 per 90 minutes and 2.44 per 90 minutes) or many shots in the box (1.85 per 90 minutes and 1.94 per 90 minutes. For perspective, those two seasons averaged together would give him 2.30 shots per 90 minutes, tied for 44th in the league among players with at least 25 appearances with Cameron Jerome, and 1.89 shots in the box per 90 minutes, ties for 23rd in the league among players with at least 25 appearances with Phillipe Coutinho. Usually you want your striker to be taking a lot of shots and Bacca hasn’t done that. He has been able to score goals anyway, but it is a reason to be wary.
If West Ham are able to pry Bacca away from Milan, it has the potential to be a great signing. They already have a world class attacking midfielder in Dimitri Payet and a striker like Bacca could help turn more of that fantastic creative output (second in chances created per 90 minutes last season behind only Mesut Ozil) into goals. After a fantastic season last season, a good striker like Bacca could lead West Ham further up the table.