By London correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham are preparing a third mammoth offer for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, according to a report.
The Evening Standard claim the Hammers have had an improved £32million bid rejected and the French club insist that they will not sell for less than their £40million valuation.
It is said West Ham will return to the negotiating table to make a final offer for 24-year-old Lacazette, who scored 21 goals in 34 Ligue 1 appearances this season.
In contrast, no West Ham player reached double figures in the league during the 2015-16 campaign, with nine-goal pair Andy Carroll and Dimitri Payet topping the charts in the competition.
Lacazette’s goals were expected to earn him a spot in France’s Euro 2016 squad but he was overlooked by manager Didier Deschamps despite Karim Benzema not being considered for selection.
Nevertheless, it is said that signing the prolific spearhead is a priority for Hammers manager Slaven Bilic.
Lacazette joined Lyon as a 12-year-old and was offered his first professional deal with the club in 2010 and six years on has become a key player.
West Ham have been active in the transfer market this summer as they comb the globe for potential new strikers, with offers supposedly made for Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi and Liverpool’s Christian Benteke.
The size of their bid for Lacazette suggests he is their preferred target as they set their sights on handing Bilic a prolific forward for next season.
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, they are ready to trigger an £8million release clause to bring a winger to the Olympic Stadium.