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West Ham United have been linked with a big money move for Spanish midfield star Pablo Fornals.

Manuel Pellegrini is without a host of first team stars, many for the rest of the season.

Midfield trio Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Carlos Sanchez unlikely to feature again until the 2019/20 campaign.

Jack Wilshere has also suffered with his career-defining injury issues since joining from Arsenal.

As a result West Ham need reinforcements.

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Hammers looked to be in pole position

And according to Spanish sports outlet Cadena Ser, Pellegrini also wants Villareal midfield ace Pablo Fornals.

West Ham are said to be willing to meet Fornal’s £26.5 million buyout clause.

Villareal, who signed Fornals from another of Pellegrini’s old side’s Malaga, could be tempted to cash in on one of their most valuable assets.

The Hammers looked to be in pole position.

But that could all have changed after the mighty Barcelona threw their hat into the ring.

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Barca interest the death knell for Pellegrini’s chances?

A move for Fornals would be a case of West Ham pushing the boat out given their £100 million summer splurge.

But the Villareal star is seen as an ‘affordable alternative’ to other transfer targets when it comes to Barca, according to Marca.

The Madrid-daily reiterated the midfielder’s buyout clause and confirmed West Ham’s interest.

Barca’s need for reinforcing their midfield has been increased due to Rafinha Alcantara’s season-ending injury, while Sergi Roberto is also out.

It may not be the death knell for West Ham’s interest, though.

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Could guaranteed game time swing it for West Ham?

While Barca may be an infinitely more attractive proposition, Fornals would face huge competition to get in the side at the Camp Nou.

At West Ham he would be guaranteed to start every game in the most watched league in the world.

The fact the Hammers are interested in a player that is also wanted by one of Europe’s elite clubs must also be seen as a positive.

It seems West Ham’s recruitment is finally heading in the right direction.

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