It’s crunch time for West Ham.

Still struggling in the league, their strikers’ inability to find the back of the net is becoming a big problem, and the future of Simone Zaza is currently in the balance.

Forced to pay Juventus €20m if he makes another appearance for the London club thanks to a clause in the loan deal, it remains to be seen if the Hammers actually want to make the deal permanent.

Yet to score a goal in nine appearances, the Italian is struggling to adapt to the Premier League, and an exit has already been discussed many times by the Italian press.

Calciomercato like to keep people updated on a daily basis, it seems, and Wednesday’s story is that AC Milan are studying the possibility of making a move for the striker to bring him back to Italy.

One of the options would be to bring in Zaza on a loan with a view to buy with an appearance clause (sound familiar?), but before this, two things need to happen.

Juventus need to be out of the picture, meaning the striker needs to make his 10th appearance for West Ham, and AC Milan need to offload one of Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano and Gianluca Lapadula.

The Colombian was a target for the Hammers over the summer but made it clear he wasn’t really interested, while Lapadula only arrived from Pescara in July, leaving the Brazilian as the most likely to depart.

The problem is, his record since arriving to Milan (six goals in 34 appearances) isn’t the most appealing for potential suitors.

There’s still a long way to go before January, and it’ll be interesting to see how much faith West Ham have in Zaza at the weekend.

If he starts, or comes on, against Stoke, they’re €20m confident he can be an asset.