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West Ham set to announce £24m signing from Italy

Slaven Bilic hopes Simone Zaza will provide the answer to West Ham's goalscoring problems.

Zaza was part of Italy's Euro 2016 squad. Credit: PA

Italy striker Zaza is closing in on a £24m move to east London from Juventus as boss Bilic attempts to pep up his threadbare attack.

The Hammers have lost Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll to injury and were also without chief creators Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini as they crashed out of the Europa League to Astra Giurgiu on Thursday night.

But Zaza, 25, could hand West Ham a welcome boost ahead of Sunday's trip to early Premier League pacesetters Manchester City.

"I don't know the details, but we were in talks and it was quite close," said Hammers boss Bilic. "I would love it to happen."

It was left to rookie Argentinian forward Jonathan Calleri, then substitute Ashley Fletcher and, by the end, centre-half James Collins to try, and ultimately fail, to break down Astra as West Ham lost for the first time at the London Stadium.

Veteran former West Brom and Barnsley midfielder Filipe Teixeira took advantage of some poor defending on the stroke of half-time to secure a 1-0 win, and 2-1 aggregate victory, for a team currently 11th in Romania's Liga 1.

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Most important season in West Ham history - Noble

Mark Noble says this season was the most important in West Ham's club history Credit: PA

West Ham captain Mark Noble has stressed the club have had a "great season" no matter what as they wait to see if it ends with a place in Europe, and has labelled the 2015-16 campaign "the most important in club history."

Victory on Sunday at Stoke in their season-ending Premier League game would have guaranteed Europa League football for the Hammers next term at the Olympic Stadium.

But after going 1-0 ahead, Slaven Bilic's men ended up losing 2-1, finishing seventh in the table and requiring Manchester United to beat Crystal Palace in Saturday's FA Cup final to give them a place in the continental competition.

Noble says the result has to be looked at in the bigger picture of the season overall as they prepare to leave the Boleyn Ground behind.

We have to take this result in context and that is we've had a great season. We have come on a long way.

I've always said this season was probably the most important in the club's history.

Moving stadiums we had to make sure we were a solid Premier League team and we did that midway through the season. We had a small chance at Champions League which was great, and now we just have to wait and see what happens in the cup final.

– Mark Noble
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