By Wayne Veysey

23rd Sep, 2020 | 5:03pm

Sources: West Ham open talks to sign defender after PL rivals pursuit collapses

West Ham have opened talks to sign St Etienne defender Wesley Fofana after Leicester City’s pursuit collapsed, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

The Foxes had been in the driving seat for the centre-back, 19, who had taken to social media to reveal his desire to complete a move to the King Power Stadium.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that the Hammers have stolen a march on their Premier League rivals and are hopeful an agreement can be reached with Ligue 1 outfit St Etienne.

This site revealed yesterday that Leicester’s deal for Fofana was on the verge of collapse as St Etienne were ready to pull the plug on negotiations.

The French club are said to be “furious” at the Premier League club’s tactics for luring the teenager and don’t want to deal with them any more.

West Ham are in the market for a centre-back who can strengthen a defence that has looked wobbly in recent seasons.

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This site revealed on Monday that the London club had ended their interest in James Tarkowski, 27, after a series of bids for the England international were rejected by Burnley.

Co-owner David Sullivan substantiated this on talkSPORT today as he revealed his club could not afford to blow their entire £40million summer budget on the defender.

Fofana, who made 24 appearances for St Etienne in a breakthrough campaign in 2019-20, is keen to move to a leading Premier League club.

The 6t 3in powerhouse was left out of their squad to play Nantes on Sunday evening, having previously been named by manager Claude Puel in the original larger group that travelled to Nantes.

In other West Ham news, David Moyes is “kicking himself” after Celtic transfer decision.