EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

West Ham have opened preliminary talks about signing highly-rated Bristol Rovers defender Michael Kelly, Football Insider can reveal.

Kelly’s form and progress at the League One club has not gone unnoticed among clubs higher up the football pyramid with scouts from Premier League and Championship clubs making regular checks on him this season.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that West Ham have opened negotiation about a deal for Kelly, who is in the final six months of his contract at Bristol Rovers.

Crystal Palace and Millwall are also ready to test Rovers’ resolve to hang onto the full-back during this month’s transfer window with a six-figure bid.

Kelly has impressed for Bristol Rovers so far this season after breaking into the first-team.

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The attacking left-back has made 20 appearances in all competitions and provided two assists for the League One club so far this season.

The 21-year-old started his career at Aberdeen and then had a spell at Leicester City beforing dropping out of professional football and playing for Scottish junior side Hurlford Town to rebuild his career.

Kelly won a move to Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2017 after impressing on trial and he has gone from strength to strength at the Memorial Stadium.

In other West Ham transfer news, it can be revealed the club have made an offer to sign a centre-forward who scored 61 goals last season.