New West Ham United boss David Moyes has made 29-year-old Championship midfielder Joe Allen top of his January wishlist.
West Ham are desperately short in several key areas.
A paltry £25million net spend over the last two windows left Manuel Pellegrini with a lack of strength in depth.
And it ultimately cost the Chilean his job following the 2-1 defeat to Leicester's reserves at the weekend.
Moyes has come in - for the second time in as many years - charged with pushing the Hammers up the league.
Scot targets Welshman for Londoners
The Scot is expected to be backed with new signings in January.
And Wales midfielder Allen, who has spent the last two seasons battling relegation with Stoke in the Championship, is the man he wants according to Guardian reporter Jacob Steinberg.
Stoke’s Joe Allen likely to be one of the first players David Moyes targets for West Ham in January, Steinberg revealed on Twitter.
Stoke’s Joe Allen likely to be one of the first players David Moyes targets for West Ham in January #whufc
— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) December 29, 2019
That tallies with reports circulating that Moyes has made the player his number one target.
West Ham must pay £12million - report
But The Express claims Stoke want £12million for the midfielder. That would be a huge gamble.
And West Ham's fans and owners are still scarred from Moyes's decision to waste £9million on flop striker Jordan Hugill the last time he was in charge.
One positive factor about Allen is that he has been a near ever present for Stoke over the past four years.
He has played in 146 of a possible 150 league games in that time.
He missed just two matches in the 2016/17 campaign, two in the 2017/18 season and none in the one and a half Championship campaigns since.
Uninspiring and not what Hammers need
The move is unlikely to inspire supporters, though.
Yes West Ham need to strengthen in central midfield. But they already have a player of Allen's ilk in captain Mark Noble.
What the Hammers sorely lack is a powerful and energetic box-to-box player who can do a bit of everything.
Less than a month ago West Ham were being heavily linked with AC Milan powerhouse Franck Kessie.
Now Allen - part of a Stoke team which is only outside the Championship relegation zone on goal difference - is apparently the answer.
No wonder supporters are disillusioned.
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