Reports in Spain claimed West Ham United were ready to meet the buyout clause for Pablo Fornals and now they will have to prove it.

The Hammers have been linked with a host of players and Spanish midfielder Pablo Fornals was on Manuel Pellegrini’s wishlist.

According to Spanish sports outlet Cadena Ser, Pellegrini had identified Fornals, who is the star playmaker for his former club Villareal.

The report claimed West Ham were willing to meet Fornal’s £26.5 million buyout clause.

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Villareal tempted to cash in on Hammers target?

The 22-year-old signed for Villareal from another of Pellegrini’s former clubs, Malaga.

But they are struggling in La Liga down in 19th place.

As a result Cadena Ser claimed the Yellow Submarine could be tempted to cash in on one of their most valuable assets.

Now Fornals’ clause has been met. Not by West Ham, but by Serie A side Napoli according to Mundo Deportivo.

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Napoli make first move, over to West Ham

However, Spanish paper As maintain Napoli have only shown an interest in Fornals rather than striking a deal. And the player’s agent told that he has had no contacts with the Partenopei.

So now it is over to West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold. If they want to give Pellegrini every opportunity of pushing the side as far as he can then bringing in a young rising star like Fornals is exactly the kind of business the club should be doing.

West Ham are 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.

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Fornals a short and long-term Lanzini replacement?

Lanzini’s injury in particular is one that has ended careers in the past and West Ham are mindful not to rush him back.

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

Fornals’ performances helped lead Villareal to a top five finish last season.

The all-action midfielder has one cap for Spain and is a skilled technician who specialises in making chances for his teammates.

So far this season, Fornals has scored three goals and provided four assists in 29 competitive games.

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