West Ham United are in advanced talks to sign Southampton's José Fonte, although Slaven Bilic may have to beat off competition from clubs including West Bromwich Albion to secure the defender.
There has been contact between West Ham and Southampton although it is understood that Fonte (33) is yet to discuss a move to the London Stadium.
Ronald Koeman, who coached Fonte at Southampton, is also an admirer of the player but it is understood Everton will not move for him due to the centreback's age. Fonte, who could command as much as £12 million (€13.8 million), has 18 months left on his contract.
He was again left out of Southampton's squad for the 1-0 FA Cup third-round replay win against Norwich City on Wednesday. Claude Puel admitted the Portugal international was weighing up "opportunities" to leave the club he joined in 2010 from Crystal Palace.
Fonte, whose last appearance came in a 3-0 defeat at Everton on January 2nd, has submitted a transfer request and will be allowed to leave in this transfer window. He has made 19 appearances this season but did not feature in any of Southampton's six Europa League matches, much to his frustration.
‘Studies his opportunities’
“I think he has some opportunities, he studies his opportunities and for Southampton it is the same,” Puel said.
Bilic is keen to bolster his defensive options with Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid and James Collins his only recognised central defenders. West Ham remain keen on Brentford striker Scott Hogan, as well as Hull City's Robert Snodgrass – having had an offer worth up to £7.5 million (€8.6 million) for him rejected last week.
Burnley, Watford, Middlesbrough and Sunderland have expressed an interest in the 29-year-old, who refused to sign a three-year contract last month, although Hull recently instigated a one-year contract extension which means he is tied to the club until the summer of 2018.
Any move this month is therefore likely to rest on Hull's owners accepting a bid they feel is worthy for a player who has scored seven times in the Premier League this season despite his club's struggles.
They had valued him at about £8 million (€9.2 million) but that could be complicated by the decision to accept a £10 million (€11.5 million) bid from West Brom for Jake Livermore on Wednesday, with the former Tottenham midfielder due for a medical before becoming Tony Pulis's first signing of the January window.
Having missed out on Fonte, West Brom are also interested in Romain Thomas. Pulis failed to sign the Angers centre-back last summer and the 28-year-old is now expected to be available for around £5 million (€5.7 million).