West Ham United could look to sign highly-rated Lille midfielder Amadou Onana as a direct replacement for Hammers loanee Alex Kral, according to Daily Star journalist Paul Brown.
The east Londoners failed to welcome any reinforcements to the London Stadium during the January transfer window, but it appears Irons boss David Moyes has already earmarked targets ahead of the summer.
What’s the latest news involving Onana?
According to The Sun, West Ham are chasing Onana after Moyes watched the 20-year-old in action for Lille against Chelsea in the Champions League.
The report, which describes the Belgian as a ‘wonderkid’, suggests Onana’s current employers will be seeking upwards of £20million for his services but the Hammers are ready to pounce this summer as they fear his value will dramatically increase as he continues to develop.
It appears West Ham are not the only Premier League club taking an interest as journalist Ignazio Genuardi has revealed Liverpool have been tracking the defensive midfielder.
Lille are in a strong negotiating position and do not need to cash-in on Onana as he still has more than four years remaining on his current agreement with the Ligue 1 outfit.
But Onana has previously spoken of his ambition to follow in the footsteps of former Lille stars Divock Origi and Eden Hazard by joining the likes of Liverpool or Real Madrid.
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What has Paul Brown said about Onana?
Brown does not believe Onana would break straight into Moyes’ first choice central midfield pairing if he were to join West Ham in the summer.
The journalist feels the six-cap Belgium under-21s international, who has made 32 appearances for Lille this season, would head to the London Stadium to make up the numbers following the expiry of Kral’s loan from Spartak Moscow.
Brown told GIVEMESPORT: “If they went for someone like Onana, I think that would just be a like-for-like replacement.
“He would be someone who can come in, be an extra body and possibly cover when they need to rest a better player.”
Could Kral stay at West Ham beyond the end of the season?
Kral joined West Ham on a season-long loan with a view to making the move permanent from Spartak Moscow on deadline day of last summer’s transfer window.
But it appears unlikely that the Hammers will take advantage of the long-term option as the 23-year-old has failed to force his way into Moyes’ plans and been afforded just one minute of Premier League action.