WEST HAM UNITED are increasingly confident of beating Sunderland and Swansea to the capture of left-back Marcos Alonso.
Alonso spent the second half of last season on loan at the Stadium of Light, and Gustavo Poyet met the Spaniard and his representatives at the start of the summer to discuss a possible permanent move from Fiorentina.
A fee of around £2m would secure Alonso on a permanent basis, with Fiorentina officials keen to move on the 23-year-old.
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However, Sunderland face competition from a number of their Premier League rivals after Alonso’s impressive displays on Wearside underlined his suitability for the English game.
Swansea officials have signalled their interest in the defender, although the Welsh club could struggle to match Alonso’s wage demands, understood to be around £30,000-a-week.
West Ham entered the fray last week when they made contact with Fiorentina to discuss a possible transfer, and sources in London claim the Upton Park hierarchy are confident of being able to pull off a deal.
The Hammers are looking for a new left-back after former Sunderland defender George McCartney came to the end of his contract, but have pulled out of proposed deals for former targets Urby Emanuelson, of AC Milan, and Timothee Kolodziejczak, of Nice.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce hopes to be able to speak to Alonso this week.
Sunderland boss Gustavo Poyet will hope last season’s successful spell on Wearside counts for something in discussions, and is prepared to offer Modibo Diakite to Fiorentina as part of any deal after the defender enjoyed a successful loan spell at the Serie A club last season.
However, Alonso’s refusal to commit himself to a return to the North-East earlier this summer is a concern.
The defender is not the only former loanee Sunderland would like to sign on a permanent basis as Liverpool’s Fabio Borini is also a leading target.
Borini’s Anfield future remains uncertain, with Liverpool understood to have offered the Italian to Southampton as a possible makeweight in a deal for Adam Lallana.
Having already sold Rickie Lambert to Liverpool, Southampton are reluctant to lose Lallana, who was the subject of an unsuccessful £20m bid from the Reds earlier this month. However, Borini has been mentioned in discussions as a possible sweetener.
Meanwhile, Jozy Altidore should be available for the latter stages of Sunderland’s pre-season programme after scans revealed the American striker had strained his hamstring rather than torn it in his side’s opening World Cup game against Ghana.