By London correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham have been installed as the bookmakers’ favourites to sign Cesc Fabregas in the January transfer window.
The Spain international had his odds slashed to 6/5 by betting company Sky Bet on Monday morning to make a move from Chelsea to east London.
West Ham have jumped ahead of Italian quartet AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Roma in the race to land Fabregas.
The two Milan clubs are price at 10/1, while the fourth favourites are Juve at a distant 18/1, while Fabregas’ former club Arsenal are 33/1.
The change in odds come after speculation that Chelsea are prepared to offload the Spanish midfielder, who is not deemed a part of Antonio Conte’s long-term plans.
The Mirror claimthat Chelsea are willing to subsidise Fabregas’ £160,000-a-week wages to help push through a deal.
Financial restrictions for West Ham rule out any possibility of a permanent move for Fabregas.
The former Arsenal and Barcelona man has fallen down the pecking order since Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer, and has made just one start this season.
The Spain international has yet to manage a full 90 minutes in the league under Conte, his longest performance being a 55-minute stint in the embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Arsenal on 24 September.
Used sparingly both at Stamford Bridge and on the road this season, Fabregas has yet to feature for more than 15 minutes in any of his three substitute appearances,
With Conte having already been given the backing to overhaul his squad in January, Fabregas is set to be one of the first on his list of departures.
The Spaniard would become a key figure for The Hammers as they look to move further away from the Premier League relegation zone. Slaven Bilic’s men currently lie in a disappointing 17th-place, just one point clear of Hull City and the relegation zone.
In other West Ham transfer news, supporters react on Twitter to the claims that Dimitri Payet wants to leave the club.