West Ham United appear to be playing a game of poker with Premier League rivals Leicester City in the race for two defenders.
Both West Ham and Leicester have been linked with a big money move for Burnley defender James Tarkowski.
West Ham have had a number of bids rejected for Tarkowski but are yet to reach Burnley’s asking price.
Leicester have been busy once again in the transfer market unlike West Ham who are yet to sign a single new player in this window.
West Ham and Leicester battling for two defenders?
The Foxes were linked with a move for Saint Etienne centre-back Wesley Fofana this week (Sky Sports).
And less than 24 hours later it emerged West Ham have made a £22.5m plus £7.5m add-ons bid for the 19-year-old.
That’s according to Sky Sports’s self-styled transfer guru Kaveh Solhekol.
West Ham boss David Moyes is desperate to sign defenders and told the press last Friday he expects to make signings this week (whufc.com).
As well as Tarkowski the Hammers have also been linked with Arsenal’s Calum Chambers.
Transfer guru makes Hammers bid claim
But West Ham now appear to have focused their attention on signing highly rated 19-year-old Fofana.
“West Ham have made a bid of €25 million plus €11 million in add ons for Saint Etienne centre back Wesley Fofana,” Solhekol said on Twitter.
West Ham have made a bid of €25 million plus €11 million in add ons for Saint Etienne centre back Wesley Fofana
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) September 23, 2020
The story behind Solhekol’s claims was later published on Sky Sports.
Moyes has made it clear he prefers experienced defenders over young players (Evening Standard).
So that begs the question are West Ham playing poker with Leicester by bidding for Fofana to call Brendan Rodgers’s bluff?
Are West Ham calling Leicester’s bluff to clear a path for Tarkowski?
The Hammers may be thinking Leicester won’t be in the market for both. And perhaps by bidding for Fofana, it will prompt the Foxes into action, leaving the path clear for Tarkowski.
It is a risky game to play for West Ham with 10 days left of the transfer window.
AC Milan have also been linked with a move for the Ligue 1 star but are struggling financially.
Our View: Phantom bid to turn tables on Burnley and Leicester?
Not only will West Ham’s reported bid for Fofana test Leicester’s nerve if they really want the player.
But it will also smoke out Burnley to potentially accept West Ham’s final offer for Tarkowski as it would all but end any potential bidding war between the Hammers and Leicester.