By Dominic Toner
Chelsea are targeting West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet, according to a report.
The Sun claim that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is eyeing a move for the 29-year-old after missing out on Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, who he wanted in a £38million deal.
It is understood that Chelsea are keen to spend some of the £60million they recuperated when they sold Oscar to Chinese club Shanghai SIPG at the beginning of January.
The report details that Conte doesn’t want to blow the club’s title chances and will move for West Ham’s unhappy star Payet.
Slaven Bilic revealed on Thursday that Payet told the Hammers he wants to leave the club despite signing a five year deal in February.
The West Ham manager has insisted that the playmaker is not for sale and the club do not want to part with its best players.
The Telegraph claim that the Londoners have rejected a £22.5million offer for Payet from Marseille, with the bid set to be made up of an initial £20million plus a further £2.5million if the French club qualify for the Champions League.
Payet has been in decent form for West Ham this campaign, scoring three goals and supplying eight assists in 22 appearances.
However, he was much more prolific in front of goal last season as he managed 15 goals in 44 appearances.
The France international is now eyeing a move away from the Hammers and wants to avoid the possibility of a relegation fight.
Football Insider verdict:
West Ham should opt to cash in on Payet this January, something they should have done back in the summer. The Frenchman has made it clear he is desperate for a move away from the London Stadium and the Hammers could still gather some good money for him if they sell now. West Ham would see his price tag drop significantly if he if forced to stay until at least the end of the season. A move to Premier League leaders Chelsea is a move that would suit Payet as he eyes competing at the top level on a regular basis. The Hammers need to prove that no player is bigger than the club and look at replacements for Payet. They could still be dragged into a relegation fight if they are not careful and need to be focused on maintaining their top-flight status for another season.
In other West Ham transfer news, the club are eyeing a Serie A forward as Bilic pushes for another attacking signing.