West Ham United have tasked director of football Mario Husillos with scouring Europe for top talent.

Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold backed manager Manuel Pellegrini with £100million last summer.

This summer’s spending is expected to reach similar levels as the Chilean hones the quality at his disposal.

Recruitment since Pellegrini and Husillos teamed up in East London has been markedly improved.

Photo by West Ham United FC Getty Images

West Ham recruitment markedly improved

The captures of Issa Diop, Felipe Anderson and Lukasz Fabianski have made a huge impact.

Young Portuguese duo Xande Silva and Mesaque Dju have also been brought in with a view to competing for a first team spot in the coming seasons.

One player who is on the radar of several clubs is teenage Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe.

The 23-year-old has scored an impressive 31 goals in 67 games for Lille from the wing.

Photo by Jean Catuffe Getty Images

Ex Hammer Fonte talks up England move for rising star

That has spiked interest in the forward. But as is often the case the European elite will not be convinced until Pepe has done it in a top league.

And West Ham could have an ‘in’ if they play their cards right.

That’s after former Hammer Jose Fonte, a teammate of Pepe’s at Lille, has predicted the 6ft powerhouse will move to England this summer (Telefoot).


“For me, it is England (next for Pepe),” Fonte told Telefoot.

“I think that this is possible for him, everything is possible for him.

“He has the talent for that.”


West Ham must get players before they’re famous

West Ham must be looking to snare players before they become established stars if they want to build a young powerful team.

Pepe would cost a pretty penny. But the Hammers proved with the £40 million capture of Anderson that they are not afraid to spend on the right player.

Pellegrini would be the perfect manager to help Pepe fulfil his potential.

And the Hammers should use Fonte to help grease the wheels to get the jump on rivals.

It promises to be a busy summer with West Ham’s forward line set to be completely overhauled.

Pepe would be a real sign of intent particularly if his signing is complemented by other rumoured arrivals such as Maxi Gomez.