West Ham linked with strikers living off past glories in Defoe and Pato, but they are better than that now

Defoe

West Ham United have been linked with January moves for two strikers approaching the twilight of their careers but the club is better than that now.

The Hammers have been linked with a January move to bring their former youth prodigy Jermaine Defoe back to Upton Park from Sunderland where he has been left kicking his heels on the bench, as reported by the Express.

Another striker whose reputation has been on the wane in recent years has also been linked with a move to East London with the Daily Mail reporting that Brazilian Alexandre Pato is being eyed by the Hammers.

Defoe kicking his heels on Mackems bench

Defoe has been kept on the bench since ex-Hammers boss Sam Allardyce arrived on Wearside and told the Express he will look to move on in the transfer window should the situation remain the same.

"At the age of 33, you want to play football," Defoe said.

"I didn't come here to sit on the bench.

"You want to play football and score goals.

"I said that from day one."

Pato's career nosedive

Meanwhile, reports from Brazil claim former AC Milan star Pato could sign for West Ham with his current club Corinthians' president Roberto de Andrade said to be keen to offload the 26-year-old forward.

The striker burst on to the scene in Brazil a decade ago before a big move to Italy.

But things did not work out for him long-term in Serie A and his return to Brazil has been equally unimpressive with Corinthians loaning him out to Sao Paolo in February 2014.

It is claimed Pato is 'keen' to play in 'one of the big cities' in England and West Ham are suggested as the likeliest suitors.

Last two transfer windows have been the best yet

A couple of years ago Hammers fans would probably have welcomed links to two players of Defoe and Pato's ilk.

But the club has evolved over the last two summers.

A revamped transfer policy has been paying dividends with Slaven Bilic's side sitting pretty in third place in the Premier League more than a quarter of the way into the season and just two points off leaders Manchester City.

The focus has been on young, hungry, powerful players who will play their best years in East London.

In truth Defoe and Pato are both on the wane as players and West Ham no longer need to give a chance to players looking for one last deal.

The Hammers have had their fingers burned countless times over the years following that policy with South African star Benni McCarthy the prime example of such deals backfiring.

Deliberate shift in transfer policy paying dividends

A shift in the way West Ham approach the transfer market was a very deliberate move by co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold after employing top talent spotter Tony Henry to lead their recruitment drive.

And any Hammers fan will vouch that the last two summer transfer windows have been among the best in the history of the club with the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Adrian, Cheikhou Kouyate, Carl Jenkinson, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho, Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Victor Moses, Alex Song, Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna coming in.

Sullivan has said the club will now rarely sign a player over the age of 27 unless of outstanding quality and value.

While Pato is 26 and could yet still turn his career around, Defoe at 33, is approaching the end of his top flight playing days.

West Ham move to the 54,000 seater Olympic Stadium next summer and have designs on a more meaningful existence.

Bilic is already struggling to fit all his players in with Andy Carroll, Sakho, Mauro Zarate, Nikica Jelavic and Valencia vying for places up front.

If Defoe cannot even get into a struggling Sunderland side and Pato is seen as a burden to a club like Corinthians, why then would they even be considered by the high-flying Hammers?

The club has moved on from those days and are all the better for it.

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