By West Ham correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham contacted Bournemouth on Wednesday to open talks about signing winger Matt Ritchie, according to a report.
Slaven Bilic is ready to return with an improved offer for the Scotland international after a joint bid for Ritchie and striker Callum Wilson was rejected last month.
The Daily Telegraph claim the Londoners are prepared to pay an initial £8 million, rising to a possible £10 million after instalments, for Richie as they move to strengthen Bilic’s squad this summer.
It is said West Ham believe a deal can be done and their second offer for Richie is expected in the next few days.
Ritchie is claimed to have met with Howe shortly after the end of the season and expressed an interest to hold talks with West Ham, who are also preparing for the Europa League after finishing seventh.
Football Insider reported last month that the Hammers had tabled a stunning £25million offer for striker Wilson and winger Richie.
It is unclear how West Ham individually valued Wilson, 24, and Richie, 26, but the size of the double bid was an early demonstration of the club’s ambition this summer.
Wilson missed most of this season with a cruciate ligament injury but he served notice of his potential with five goals in 12 Premier League matches, while Richie was one of Bournemouth’s leading performers with four goals and six assists from 36 top flight games.
West Ham are ready to smash their club record transfer fee of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham news, teen sensation Reece Oxford is increasingly likely to leave the club this summer.