By Tom Blackburn

West Ham are close to signing Palermo left-back Achraf Lazaar for £2.5million, according to a report.

The London Evening Standard claim the Hammers have jumped ahead of Monaco in the race to land the left-sided player.

It is said that Lazaar, 24, is set to continue his career in London after a breakthrough in West Ham’s pursuit.

This comes after Italian publication Mediagol claimed at the start of August that the Morocco international had agreed a three-year contract with the Hammers before speculation subsequently went quiet.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic stated earlier this month that the club were aiming to bring in five players before the 31 August transfer cut-off.

The latter pair both made their West Ham debuts in Monday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea but Ayew limped out of the clash and is facing a scan on his thigh.

Lazaar can play in defence and on the left side of midfield, and his versatility is said to appeal to Bilic.

He has less than 12 months remaining on his Rosanero deal and is available at a relatively cut-price £2.5million.

The 16-time capped international was integral to Palermo’s Serie A campaign last season, making 30 domestic appearances for Davide Ballardini’s side.

In other West Ham transfer news, they fight off Tottenham competition for an £18million-rated English youngster.