Exclusive - West Ham are leading the charge for Stade Reims striker Boulaye Dia, who is on the radar of a number of other Premier League sides.
Reims currently find themselves narrowly above the relegation zone in Ligue 1, but the French side would be worse off without the goals of Dia, who has found the back of the net nine times in 14 games - a tally bettered only by Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.
Players from Ligue 1 are expected to be targeted by clubs across Europe as French sides are all facing the prospect of major financial problems in the wake of the collapse of the TV deal with Spanish company Mediapro, who terminated their £2.75bn contract just five months into a four-year contract last week.
With the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak still being felt in France as well, sources have confirmed to 90min that Premier League teams feel they have a realistic chance of signing Ligue 1 players in January, and Dia's name is near the top of several clubs' wish lists.
Newcastle were one of the first clubs to scout Dia, but West Ham have now moved clear at the front of the queue and are understood to be in pole position to land the 24-year-old Senegal international.
The Hammers are keen to back David Moyes in the transfer market in January after being impressed with his side's electric start to the season which has left them just three points behind the Champions League spots.
Sebastien Haller has been leading the line for West Ham but there are concerns about the lack of depth behind the Ivorian, with utility man Michail Antonio the only other option in the squad. Antonio has been battling hamstring injuries this season, leaving Moyes with only Haller to call upon in attack.
There is still plenty of interest in Dia from elsewhere. West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United have both been tracking the Reims frontman, while reports elsewhere have thrown Arsenal and Everton into the mix as well.
However, 90min understands that West Ham are in pole position to land Dia, who was recently praised by Liverpool star and Senegal team-mate Sadio Mane.
"I didn't know him before," Mane told France 3. "But since the start of the season I've been following him, and I'm really impressed by his qualities. I think he won't stay at Reims forever, believe me!"
Source : 90min