Hammers close in on transfer target

West Ham United
Wolves are reportedly still keeping tabs on Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes ahead of a switch this summer.

West Ham appear to be closing in on their number one January transfer target in the shape of Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes.

The 21-year-old has been the subject of much transfer speculation and the Hammers have not been alone in their pursuit of the player, with Manchester United also said to be keen.

There was talk of an 18-month loan followed by a permanent deal, with a price thought to be in the region of £33m being talked about, but Chelsea apparently trumped that offer.

The latest reports claim the Portuguese club held a meeting at boardroom level and have apparently decided to go with the West Ham offer.

They feel the player’s value will rise at the London Stadium because he will get more time on the field than he would at Chelsea – even though the Blues were said to be prepared to complete an 18-month loan plus an obligation to buy for £55m.

That deal came with a clause, though, and Chelsea said they were only willing to offer that money for him if he had played over 50% of the games for which he was available.

New Hammers boss David Moyes has his winter targets and will be given a certain amount of money to spend in January, but he also has a strict criteria and says the players need to be up to speed and ready to go in the Premier League.

Speaking ahead of the trip to Sheffield United on Friday night, Moyes said: “We’re linked with lots of players. I think more importantly he’s a young player (Fernandes) with potential.

“He’s got good pedigree, so from that point of view I’d like to bring young players in for the future and build a strong young team, but also I have to have players who are ready now.”

Fernandes has a release clause of £102m but Benfica have given up on getting that much for a player who is out of favour and reported to have fallen out with head coach Bruno Lage.