By Amir Mir

Chris Sutton believes West Ham should pay up to £15 million for Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.

Sky Sports claimed on Friday afternoon that the Hammers had given up on signing the 34-year-old after they had a bid of £6 million rejected last week.

BBC pundit Sutton backed the London club to sign Defoe as he slammed summer signing Simon Zaza for making “rotten” runs which have affected the performances of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini.

Slaven Bilic’s side are struggling in the bottom half of the Premier League table as they aim to bring in a new striker to the club.

Summer signing duo Zaza and Ashley Fletcher have failed to find the back of the net in the league, while Diafra Sakho continues to be troubled by injuries.

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Nonetheless, Sutton delivered his verdict on West Ham’s pursuit of the former England international.

“The club have bid £6million this week but I would go through £10m and even as high as £15m. Sign him,” Sutton wrote in his Daily Mail column. “He guarantees you goals, he will guarantee their survival and their progress. He will be the master goalscorer they need in that new stadium.

“I can’t begin to explain how distressing it must have been for Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini to look up and see Simone Zaza. His runs were rotten.

“Payet and Lanzini have been criticised for being off colour, but they have had nothing to hit, nobody to find. It has been uncomfortable viewing. No wonder West Ham are in the bottom half of the table.”

Defoe has been in fine form this term despite David Moyes’ side sitting in the relegation zone after 20 games.

The London-born player has scored 11 goals in 20 league games this season, including netting 15 in 33 games last term which helped the Black Cats survive relegation.

By contrast, the Hammers top scorer is Michail Antonio with eight goals as Bilic’s side are seven points ahead of Sunderland in the table.

In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers have been installed as favourites to sign this striker after reported talks.