West Ham have reportedly switched their focus towards the signing of a Bundesliga midfielder who tormented Borussia Dortmund in a game earlier this season.
The Hammers are expected to bring in at least one new forward this summer, having sold record signing Sebastien Haller to Ajax back in January. However, it would appear that a Cologne midfielder is very much on David Moyes’ radar ahead of a summer swoop.
The Daily Express reports that Ellyes Skhiri is the player in question, with the powerhouse rated at £20million.
The Tunisia international is 6ft 1in and very much in the Tomas Soucek mold. Indeed, like Soucek, the 26-year-old is a major threat from set-pieces, scoring six goals this past season.
He also added three assists as Cologne narrowly avoided relegation. But arguably the highlight of his season was when he bagged a brace in a famous win for his side at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park back in November.
The Hammers are not the only club chasing Skhiri, however, with several other teams tracking him.
The likes of Chelsea, Sevilla, Atalanta and Fiorentina are all mentioned. Meanwhile, Lyon are also reported to have had a £7million bid knocked back.
Cologne are hoping to receive around £20m for one of their star men, who still has two years left on his contract.
However, that figure may prove too rich for a Hammers side who’ve made the addition of a new No.9 their top priority.
Hammers chasing Barca defender
Meanwhile, reports in Spain claim West Ham United are ahead of their Premier League rivals in the battle to sign Barcelona’s out-of-favour defender Junior Firpo.
The 24-year-old is likely to be one of the players sacrificed by the LaLiga giants this summer. Barca’s financial struggles have been well documented and a peripheral member of the squad seems surplus to requirements. Having moved to the Nou Camp from Real Betis in the summer of 2019, the left-back has struggled for game time.
During his first season, he made 11 starts among 17 league appearances. But, far from pushing on in 2020-21, he was seen just seven times and started only three games.
AC Milan have also been linked but want a loan deal for the former Spain Under-21 star. That is unlikely to interest Barca, who need to get cash in the coffers as soon as possible.
The way could be clear for David Moyes to pounce and his fee would not break the bank. It has been suggested that the man from the Dominican Republic has a €200m release clause.
But, such is the Catalans’ financial plight, he could be available for only €20m.