West Ham are set rival Hull in the race to sign England international Danny Welbeck from Manchester United as they look to land an Andy Carroll replacement.
Sam Allardyce offered £5m to land original target Connor Wickham, who has just one year left on his contract, but Sunderland have so far rebuffed the east London club’s approaches.
This has forced the Hammers, who are 4/1 with Ladbrokes to be relegated, to switch targets after ending their interest in Wickham with Allardyce seeing Welbeck as an ideal alternative.
But the Irons face stiff competition from Hull to tempt the England international away from Old Trafford.
Reports suggest the 23-year-old, who featured for England at the World Cup against Italy and Uruguay, has been told his role in the new Manchester United era under Louis van Gaal will be limited with new captain Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie set to fill the striking berths in the new 3-5-2 system.
The Tigers are in the market for a striker after agreeing to sell Shane Long to Southampton and Bruce, who is readying a £14m bid, knows all about Welbeck’s talents after managing him at Sunderland.
The striker was Bruce’s eight summer signing back in 2010 and he scored his first goal for the Black Cats in an impressive display in the club’s 3-0 away win at Chelsea.
Welbeck, who is 5/2 to join Hull, has scored 20 goals during his 90-match career at Old Trafford and has notched eight strikes for England in just 26 international appearances.
A striker of his calibre would certainly boost a Hull squad fighting on both the domestic and European fronts this season.
Last season’s FA Cup finalists are 7/2 to be relegated to the Championship but with Welbeck’s potential arrival they could be looking towards the top half, with a top 10 Premier League finish available at odds of 13/5 with Ladbrokes.
But while Bruce may believe he is in pole position to land Welbeck should he leave Manchester United, West Ham, who are 5/1 to sign the England striker, will be ready to rival their Premier League rivals.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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