West Ham have tabled a £33m bid for Saint-Etienne teenage centre-back Wesley Fofana, according to reports but face competition from a Premier League rival.
Sky Sports claim the Hammers are set to pay out an initial fee of £23m. And that could rise another £10m due to add-ons.
Boss David Moyes is in the market for a central defender. James Tarkowski has been the prime target but Burnley are reluctant to sell.
West Ham have tried with three bids but all have been turned down by the Turf Moor outfit.
Fofana, meanwhile, has already told Saint-Etienne head coach Claude Puel that he sees his future elsewhere. And the Premier League is his desired destination.
Puel responded by leaving the 19-year-old out of the club’s matchday squad for Sunday’s clash with Nantes.
West Ham face competition from Premier League rivals Leicester.
The Foxes have already made contact but baulked at Saint-Etienne’s original asking price of £25m.
Leicester are also looking at Tarkowski so this could turn into quite a battle between the Premier League clubs.
Fofana really came to the fore last season when turning out 24 times for Saint Etienne.
His displays helped Les Verts qualify for the Europe League and also reach the French Cup final. And he was described in The Guardian as “perhaps the most exciting centre-back prospect in Ligue 1”.
Sullivan admits frustration in transfer market
West Ham are so far struggling to get signings over the line.
So they may have to go the extra mile and stump up Saint Etienne’s asking price to land Fofana.
Hammers co-owner David Sullivan spoke earlier about the difficulties in an interview with talkSPORT.
“We have a number of bids in for a number of players, but teams don’t want to lose them; these are key players at decent-sized clubs, outside the UK,” he said.
“They don’t want to lose them so whether we get any of these players I do not know.
“It’s the manager’s decision. He doesn’t want to bring in players who are just numbers, just squad players. He wants to bring players in who will improve the team.
“I cannot say for sure we are going to sign anybody. As each day passes, I get more depressed.”
Sullivan’s mood has hardly been helped by West Ham losing both their opening Premier League fixtures.