West Ham are tracking Ollie Watkins’ progress ahead of a potential summer move for the Brentford forward, according to reports.
The 24-year-old, who moved to the Bees in the summer of 2018, hit 10 goals in each of his first two seasons in the Championship but has come to life this term with 22 goals in 35 appearances.
Such form puts him one behind Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic in the race to be the division’s top scorer with Brentford, without a win in five, chasing a play-off spot.
According to The Sun, West Ham are keeping tabs on Watkins ahead of a potential raid, the chances of which would be boosted if Brentford fail to secure promotion.
The newspaper claims that the Hammers were keen on signing the forward in January but Brentford were unwilling to entertain offers with their top-flight charge in full swing.
However, West Ham have not been put off and are said to have identified Watkins as a prime target at the end of the season.
The move would reportedly be the second step in David Moyes’ overhaul of his squad, with the signing of Hull winger Jarrod Bowen the first part of that process.
Moyes admitted that he was reluctant to throw Bowen in at the deep end upon his arrival, handing him his debut in the closing stages of the 3-2 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
Bowen impressed on Merseyside – almost beating Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker – and was subsequently handed his first start in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Southampton, in which he scored the opener after 15 minutes.
Despite Bowen’s immediate impact, however, Moyes insisted after the defeat of the Saints that the winger cannot already be hailed as West Ham’s “saviour” from the threat of relegation.
“There was a lot of good things and a lot of good performances. I’ve had a few boys from the Championship [like Jarrod Bowen] – I hope I’ve got an idea what I’m doing with them,” the manager said.
“He showed exactly what he showed in training, that he can score, but we can’t bring him here and act like he’s the saviour of West Ham.”
West Ham return to action on Saturday when they travel to The Emirates to face Arsenal.