West Ham are leading the race to sign Manchester United defender Chris Smalling this summer, according to The Sun.
The newspaper claim that the Premier League giants are looking to offload the 27-year-old as manager Jose Mourinho fast losing patience with his attitude and commitment.
It is reported that West Ham have emerged as one of two early frontrunners, with Premier League rivals West Brom having also been alerted to the situation.
Smalling made just 18 league appearances last season, having fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford following a series of injury setbacks.
The England international missed 21 games in total due to foot and knee injuries, and Mourinho criticised the player last month for being too ‘cautious’ in his recovery.
Mourinho has regularly seen his defensive resources depleted this season, but Smalling had made himself unavailable for selection during their time of need, over fears of aggravating his injuries.
The Portuguese is growing increasingly frustrated with the player, who has two years’ left to run on his current contract, and that could see him booted out of Old Trafford in the summer.
West Ham, meanwhile, are in desperate need for defensive reinforcements, despite adding Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte to their ranks for £8million in January.
The London club conceded 64 goals from their 38 league games this term, which gave them the sixth-worst defensive record in the league, and Slaven Bilic must make amends if they are to improve next term.