West Ham blow as Eintracht Frankfurt move into pole position for Hugo Ekitike transfer

West Ham remain interested in Hugo Ekitike but Eintracht Frankfurt have emerged as the frontrunners to sign the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Crystal Palace enquired about Ekitike’s availability earlier in the window but they are now exploring other options up front, including Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho.

West Ham plan to sign a striker before the transfer window ends on Friday, with discussions ongoing with Corinthians over a possible deal for their 22-year-old Brazilian international Yuri Alberto.

Technical director Tim Steidten is in Brazil to head up negotiations over Alberto, with Frankfurt target Ekitike believed to be their favoured alternative.

Other European clubs are expected to register their interest in 21-year-old Ekitike, who has four years left on his current contract at PSG, before Friday’s deadline.

PSG have long wanted to sign Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani and Ekitike could move in the opposite direction. Ekitike wants more game time than he is currently getting at PSG but, if he were to move to Frankfurt, he would not want to be used as a makeweight in the Kolo Muani deal.

Michail Antonio and Danny Ings are the only nominal centre-forwards in David Moyes’s West Ham squad at present, with the Hammers one of a handful of Premier League clubs hoping to sign a striker this week.

West Ham have made four major signings this summer, with Mohammed Kudus the most recent — joining from Ajax for a fee of £38million.

The Hammers have also spent £30m on Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, bought Kudus’s former Ajax teammate Edson Alvarez for £32m plus add-ons, and signed Konstantinos Mavropanos from Stuttgart for £19m.