Keen to build a solid foundation to his side in their bid for Premier League survival, Sam Allardyce is believed to have made Tottenham centre-half William Gallas his chief target.
Gallas has fallen down the White Hart Lane pecking order, with the club expected to tie up a deal for Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen, and Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul also on the books.
Spurs therefore look ready to allow the 34-year-old Frenchman to move to Upton Park on a free transfer, despite the hostility that exists between the clubs.
Allardyce is desperate to land defenders with Premier League experience, and Gallas, who has played 287 times in England’s top flight, certainly fits the bill.
While his wages will far exceed those of other targets, namely Stoke pair Abdoulaye Faye and Danny Collins, the two-time Premier League champion’s pedigree would suggest he is worth the added investment.
Another experienced campaigner on Allardyce’s wishlist is timeless midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who the West Ham chief hopes to attract to East London on a one-year deal.
Seedorf ended a ten-year stint at AC Milan this summer, and now 36, could have his final chance of realising an ambition to ply his trade in the Premier League.
In terms of cash deals meanwhile, Allardyce appears to be reserving his war chest with a view to more attacking players.
Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga is thought to be a prime target for West Ham, with the club prepared to part with £5m to secure the 24-year-old’s services.
They face competition from Reading for the Malian international, but with the Royals ready to tie up a deal for Pavel Pogrebnyak, Maiga’s signature is likely to be coveted more vehemently by the Hammers.
His goalscoring average for his current club is not far short of one every two games, and Maiga could provide worthy competition to Carlton Cole’s starting berth at Upton Park next term.