AC Milan have opened talks to sign West Ham transfer target Mohamed Simakan from Strasbourg, Football Insider understands.

The 20-year-old is among a number of defenders identified by the Hammers as a potential recruit as they look to bolster their backline before the transfer window closes.

However, a recruitment source has told Football Insider that Italian giants AC Milan have entered negotiations to prise the centre-back from the Ligue 1 outfit in a blow to the Irons’ hopes of a late deal ahead of Monday night’s international deadline.

Milan’s bid to sign Simakan could have a domino effect in the Premier League as they were also interested in a move for Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

The Blues’ centre-back is also a target for London rivals Tottenham as Jose Mourinho also looks to add a new recruit to his backline.

Simakan has emerged as one of the brightest young defenders currently plying his trade in France’s top flight since his breakthrough last season.

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He played 25 times as both a centre-back and a right-back for Strasbourg after he made his professional debut last July.

He has been an ever-present for the north east outfit in their opening six league games of the new season and his impressive form has put him in high demand across Europe.

AC Milan’s pursuit could see them drop their interest in Rudiger, who has fallen down the pecking order under Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.

The Germany international featured 28 times across all competitions last season but has made just one matchday squad this term.

In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED another big defender deal has fallen through for the Irons.