West Ham exclusive: Lopetegui green lights huge transfer with Wolves ‘expecting star to leave’

Wolves captain Max Kilman is a transfer target for West Ham, TEAMtalk can reveal

Wolves captain Max Kilman is a transfer target for West Ham

West Ham have placed Wolves defender Max Kilman at the top of their summer transfer window wishlist and there is a real belief that the Molineux men are ready to sacrifice their captain, TEAMtalk sources can reveal.

The centre-back is one of the big success stories having made the step-up from non-league football to established Premier League star, with the Chelsea-born player joining Wolves from Maidenhead in 2018.

Kilman, who also had a thriving futsal career at Helvecia, has since become an established Premier League defender, racking up 151 appearances for the West Midlands outfit.

It is clear he has a great deal of affection for the club, with the 6ft 4in man professing his admiration for the Molineux side.

In June, he said: “I’ve been here for a while now and I want to carry on doing what I’m doing and keep being the best I can. I love this club so much, so I just want to carry on.”

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Now, however, TEAMtalk sources reveal that West Ham have one major target in mind: Kilman, whom they are seriously hoping starts the next campaign in claret and blue.

They have long been interested in the 27-year-old and wanted to sign him in January, but were unable to get a deal across the line.

There is fresh hope for the Hammers, however, as sources state Kilman is open to the move and the opportunities that may be presented to him this summer. West Ham have sounded out the possibilities of the deal and now know what they must pay to land his talents.

Wolves may reluctantly cash in on Kilman

Gary O’Neil’s side are demanding £45m for Kilman – which would be among the most expensive in West Ham’s history and only £6m short of the fee paid to Lyon for Lucas Paqueta in August 2022.

The Old Gold, however, feel they are in a strong position to ask for that, due to the fact they have Kilman tied down to a long-term deal that runs until 2028.

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This was also a move by his club to keep hold of him and drive up his value as the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea were also heavily linked to him. It was seen as a coup to keep hold of him last year but this summer may be a different story.

Wolves boss O’Neil accepts he needs to sell before he can buy and, if their price is matched for Kilman, there remains a strong chance he will leave.

To that end, Wolves are expecting the player to leave this summer.

Julen Lopetegui has replaced David Moyes at the London Stadium and is working closely with the club’s sporting director, Tim Steidten, to build a squad that can, once again, compete in the top half of the Premier League.

They plan an ambitious window and are looking to push the club forward after recent success in Europe when they won the Europa Conference League.

It remains to be seen how high West Ham are willing to go to sign Kilman, but they are looking to strengthen their defence after shipping 74 goals this season on their way to a ninth-place finish.