By Emma Sanders
West Ham are lining up a bid for striker Gregoire Defrel in January, according to a report.
The Express claim the Sassoulo striker has emerged as a top target for Slaven Bilic, who is hoping to add to his attacking options in the January transfer window.
It is said that West Ham are ready to make a bid in the new year but the Serie A star could cost up to £20million.
The Hammers have sent scouts to watch him throughout the season but they face competition from Premier League giants Liverpool. who have also sent representatives.
According to the report, Defrel was a replacement for Simone Zaza who left Sassuolo in July 2015 to join Juventus. Zaza is now currently on loan at West Ham.
However, the striker has failed to score and West Ham are in desperate need of attacking options due to injuries to Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho already this season.
Defrel has already scored seven goals in 19 appearances in Serie A and the Europa League this season and has provided a further four assists.
He is currently under contract with Sassoulo until 2020 but Bilic is hoping to lure him to the Premier League despite interest from other clubs.
The 25-year-old is expected to be just one of a number of targets for the Hammers, with Bilic’s job under threat after a poor start to the season.
Football Insider verdict:
The Hammers are in serious need of some new faces and Defrel certainly has a lot of experience in Italy. He is a proven goalscorer and has competed in the Europa League with a few clubs but £20 million would be a huge sum for a player relatively unknown. Bilic needs to bring in a striker but the club may not be able to afford to spend that much on one player when they probably need to bring in a few attacking options given the injury problems that have already hit them this season. A loan agreement may be a better option for West Ham.
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