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Ronald Koeman is reluctant to play Martin Braithwaite in pre-season as the Barcelona striker closes in on a £13 million move to Premier League giants West Ham United, as reported by Sport

After six months and countless column inches, it seems the Hammers are finally about to fill a Sebastien Haller-shaped void in a squad that secured Europa League qualification last season despite what many would deem the absence of a ‘classic number nine’ – even though Michail Antonio’s adaptation to the role has been staggering. 

So, enter Martin Braithwaite.

Ranking FC Barcelona’s Signings Since Selling Neymar

Ranking FC Barcelona’s Signings Since Selling Neymar

Last week, Sport reported West Ham had agreed a £13 million fee with cash-strapped Barcelona for the Denmark international.  

It’s no secret Barca are desperate to raise funds and cashing in on Braithwaite would strengthen the club’s coffers at a time when they are unable to register Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero or Lionel Messi for the new La Liga season because of their financial worries. 

Is Martin Braithwaite about to swap Barcelona for West Ham?

And while the one-time Middlesbrough forward was included in the squad as Barcelona battered Stuttgart 3-0 on Saturday, he failed to get on to the pitch. 

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According to Sport, Blaugrana boss Ronald Koeman was unwilling to risk Braithwaite against the Bundesliga outfit, fearing an ill-timed injury could wreck the club’s chances of selling him to West Ham before the transfer window shuts at the end of this month. 

Braithwaite, who has also been linked with Burnley, Norwich City, Brighton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, has yet to agree personal terms with the Hammers, however. 

It’s believed he wants a pay rise on his current £85,000-a-week deal. Presumably, this isn’t a figure West Ham have been willing to offer so far.

A compromise will probably be reached though – Braithwaite knows he needs to move on while Barcelona are desperate to sell. 

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