WEST HAM UNITED will attempt to force Newcastle United’s hand by formally triggering the £16.5m release clause in Salomon Rondon’s contract at West Brom.

Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini is determined to sign an experienced striker this summer, but has accepted he will have to admit defeat over his leading target, Maxi Gomez, who will not be leaving Celta Vigo after his current employers successfully avoided the threat of relegation from La Liga.

With Gomez off the agenda, Pellegrini has instructed West Ham’s recruitment team to pursue Rondon, whose buyout clause has been set at £16.5m in the wake of West Brom’s failure to win promotion from the Championship via the play-offs.

West Ham hope that by moving early, they will be able to take advantage of the ongoing uncertainty at Newcastle United over Rafael Benitez’s position as manager.

Benitez has returned to his family home on the Wirral after meeting Mike Ashley in London last week, and while the pair continue to communicate via Email and telephone, there are no plans for another face-to-face meeting this week.

Newcastle will not be making any signings until Benitez’s future is resolved one way or the other, so it remains to be seen what Rondon will do if he is offered a move to the London Stadium in the next few days.

The Venezuelan international would like to remain at St James’ Park, but would also like to have his future resolved sooner rather than later. If Newcastle are not in a position to make a formal offer in the next couple of weeks, they risk missing out on the striker.

West Ham are not their only potential competitors as Wolves have also identified Rondon as a leading summer target. With Manchester City’s victory in the FA Cup final having confirmed Wolves’ qualification for the Europa League, Nuno Espirito Santo is keen to strengthen his squad significantly this summer.

Raul Jimenez will be Wolves’ number one striker next season, but Nuno would like Rondon to provide some cover and competition for the Mexican.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Under-23s retained their Soccer Sixes Tournament title at Hong Kong’s Happy Valley yesterday, beating Rangers in the final. Owen Bailey scored Newcastle’s winner.