WEST HAM sent scouts to watch Flamengo strikers Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique in their Fifa Club World Cup final defeat to Liverpool, it has been claimed.
The Brazilian side lost in extra-time to Jurgen Klopp’s men and they may have more to worry about in January with the Hammers keeping an eye on their star strikers.
Flamengo beat River Plate 2-1 in last month’s Copa Libertadores final to reach the tournament in Doha.
And Barbosa, 23, was the hero against the Argentinian side – scoring in the 89th and 92nd minutes to hand the Brazilians a famous late win.
The Club World Cup is revered in Brazil and having reached the tournament thanks to Barbosa, his fellow Brazilian Henrique, 28, then helped them reach the final.
The forward scored Flamengo’s second in the semi as they beat Al-Hilal 3-1 to set up a final with the Reds.
Barbosa – nicknamed Gabigol – has been on the Hammers’ radar for some time.
He is currently on loan at Flamengo from Inter Milan but is expected to leave the Italians after his loan spell finishes on December 31.
He has bagged 34 goals and 11 assists with the Libertadores champs making him an attractive prospect but Manuel Pellegrini’s side will face competition from Flamengo who want to sign him permanently.
Barbosa’s international teammate Henrique’s stats are equally impressive having finished second top scorer behind Barbosa in Brazil’s Serie A last season as Flamengo claimed their record sixth title.
He was also awarded this year’s Club World Cup silver ball – an award given to the second best player at the tournament – after Liverpool’s Mo Salah bagged gold.
West Ham have the second-worst goal difference of anyone outside the Premier League relegation zone, and are said to be in the market for another striker to support club record signing Sebastien Haller.
The Frenchman has managed five goals from 16 League appearances for the Hammers this season – his latest coming in West Ham’s 1-0 win at Southampton last time out.
He played alongside Michail Antonio on that occasion and the general feeling is that he is more effective when paired with another frontman.
Back in Brazil, hundreds of thousands of Flamengo fans lined the streets of Rio de Janeiro to celebrate after their dramatic Copa Libertadores triumph.
But armed cops were forced to intervene with tear gas later in the day when the celebrations got out of hand.