West Ham source new Lingard alternative and hold talks for £25m man

Nikola Vlasic celebrating a UEFA Nations League goal for Croatia, October 2020

West Ham have sourced a new alternative to Jesse Lingard and have held talks for the player as the clock ticks down on the transfer window, it has been claimed.

Hope of securing Lingard, who has been their first choice attacking target this summer, is dwindling fast. The Manchester United man isn’t content with his lack of playing time for the Red Devils. But the Hammers are yet to meet his price tag and it looks out of reach.

Recent reports indicated they had started to look elsewhere and earlier this week it was suggested Lille’s Jonathan Bamba was an option.

However, a new report by the Daily Mail claims despite the interest, Bamba is not being considered by David Moyes.

Instead, it is stated that the club have entered into discussions over a deal for CSKA Moscow forward Nikola Vlasic.

Vlasic, 23, is an attacking midfielder who Everton signed in 2017 but barely used. He spent just one season with the Toffees before being sent on loan to CSKA, who then bought him the next summer.

He has impressed highly in the Russian capital. In 107 games he has scored 33 goals and has assisted a further 21.

And with three years left on his contract, it comes as no surprise that a price tag of £25m has been placed on his head.

West Ham are said to be hoping to bring that price down in the negotiations. According to talkSPORT’s Jim White they have a budget of £45m for the rest of the window.

Nikola Vlasic in action for CSKA Moscow, August 2021

Signing Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is the priority as they are lacking in centre-backs. He is set to cost them £26m.

Then this latest report claims there is room for one more attacking addition. This would appear to be either Vlasic or Montpellier striker Gaetan Laborde.

A separate report from France indicated the Hammers had submitted a bid in the region of €15-20m for Laborde yesterday.

It may well be a case of whichever deal materialises first is the one they decide to proceed with.

Toffees have first refusal

Interestingly, Everton could make West Ham’s decision easier if they wanted to activate a clause in Vlasic’s contract.

Upon his departure from the club it was included in his contract that the Toffees had a first refusal buy-back option.

Having sold him for £14m, they would be making a big loss on him. The Croatian international, who scored against Scotland at Euro 2020, never really got a chance on Merseyside.

He was given roughly 1,000 minutes of game time in all competitions in the 2017/18 season and when Marco Silva arrived at the club, he was completely disregarded.

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