By support

10th Jan, 2017 | 11:20am

West Ham 26-year-old ace on top of Chelsea January wish list - report

By Emma Sanders

Chelsea have targeted Michail Antonio as a top January signing, according to a report.

The Times claim Antonio Conte is looking to bring in two wing-backs in the transfer window and the West Ham star could be one of those.

The 26-year-old is top of Conte’s wish list according to the report and he has been identified as a player who could challenge Marcos Alonso for a first-team spot.

As well as Antonio, Chelsea are believed to be interested in Cologne right-back Jonas Hector as back-up for Victor Moses.

Chelsea have been in excellent form this season and wing-backs Alonso and Moses have performed strongly in recent months so their positions are unlikely to be compromised.

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However, despite strong starts to the season, the report makes it clear that Conte thought both wing-backs performed poorly during the defeat to Spurs and he wants increased competition for spots in his team.

He sees it as vital that he brings in strong back-up options as the wing-back roles are crucial to his side’s playing strategy.

The report claims it’s unlikely West Ham will allow Antonio to leave but Conte could prepare an offer and may be willing to battle for the London ace.

Football Insider verdict:

Antonio is West Ham’s top goalscorer this season with eight Premier League goals so he is crucial to Slaven Bilic’s side and it’s extremely unlikely they will let him leave. They need to keep hold of the versatile attacker in order to pull away from the bottom half of the table and it’s unlikely Chelsea will be willing to offer the fee West Ham would want to let him go. Money isn’t an issue for Chelsea but they won’t want to waste time in a battle for Antonio when they are not in a desperate situation. Conte will most likely hold out until the summer if he is really interested and make a more considered bid when West Ham’s league standings have been confirmed.

In other West Ham news, the club are preparing to make a move for this England international.