Scouts from a number of top clubs were keeping their tabs on Issa Diop before West Ham swooped, The Daily Mail reports.
West Ham’s rivals Tottenham Hotspur were among a host of clubs aware of Diop but West Ham made the first move.
Mark Mckay’s advice
West Ham followed the advice of agent Mark McKay to land Diop. This is the same agent who recommended Dimitri Payet to the club.
The Hammers won this race, spending £22m on the France under-21 international and giving him a lucrative four-year deal.
Diop was scouted by Tottenham before West Ham swooped, as well as a number of other clubs across Europe and in the Premier League.
Spanish giants Barcelona and Sevilla were watching the young centre-back, as well as Bundesliga heavyweights Borussia Dortmund.
Newly promoted Fulham also scouted him, alongside Arsenal and Everton in the English top flight.
After West Ham beat Manchester United at the weekend, Jose Mourinho praised the scout who discovered the “monster” that is Diop.
But according to this report, Man United were aware of the 21-year-old defender.
McKay said: “Plenty of clubs were talking about Issa, but they were all waiting for each other to make a move. It was clear he was a top talent.
“He’s quick, good in the air, good on the ball and his legs are telescopic. Credit to David Sullivan, he spoke to Mario Husillos and pushed the hardest.
“In a market where clubs are demanding £75m for a centre back, they’ve got themselves a great prospect.”