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West Ham leading race for £22m-rated West Brom ace Matheus Pereira as transfer rivals Al-Hilal refuse to pay over £13m

WEST HAM are leading the way in their pursuit of West Brom playmaker Matheus Pereira, according to reports.

The 25-year-old was one of the few bright sparks for the Baggies during a 2020-21 campaign which saw them relegated from the Premier League.

But unlike his current club, Pereira could make an instant return to the top flight in time for the new season.

According to journalist Ekrem Konur, the Brazilian playmaker is 'very close' to sealing a move to West Ham.

Pereira scored 11 Premier League goals in 33 appearances for West Brom last season following a successful loan spell in the Championship with the Midlands club.

And he has now attracted interest from the Hammers as they look to build on their sixth place finish in the league.

West Ham also have to contend with a Europa League campaign, the first time they have qualified for the group stage of the competition having previously exited in the qualifying stages.

David Moyes' side have already made their first signing of the summer, completing a one-year loan deal for Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

They also have the option to sign him on a permanent basis next summer if he proves himself as the No1 at the London Stadium.

Speaking about signing Areola, Moyes said: "As we prepare for a very busy schedule, he will provide fantastic competition for the goalkeepers already at the football club and we are going to need to use our squad to ensure compete to the best of our abilities across all competitions.

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 “We have been aware of his qualities for a long time and we have no doubt he will be another player and character who will enhance our squad.”

West Ham are also being linked with Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma as they look to bolster their defensive options.

Zouma, 26, has been out of favour since Thomas Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge in January.

The Frenchman only made 13 appearances after the German coach's arrival as Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger were preferred to the former Stoke and Everton loanee.

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West Ham complete Alphonse Areola transfer on one-year loan from PSG

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