West Ham hope to conclude Kurt Zouma Chelsea deal in next 48 hours and £25m ace may follow

Premier League clubs will not release players for games in red-list countries

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West Ham hope to complete the £26million signing of Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma before the weekend. The two clubs have agreed the fee for the French international centre-back, who West Ham have been chasing for several weeks.

The 26-year-old’s wages had been a problem in completing a deal, but the two sides were moving close to agreeing personal terms on Tuesday night.

Zouma has been made available by Champions League winners Chelsea, as the Stamford Bridge club chase a deal for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.

West Ham, whose 4-1 win over Leicester on Monday night put them top of the early Premier league table, have offered Zouma a five-year deal.

Hammers manager David Moyes had been looking at a centre-back to strengthen his squad, and Zouma was always his first choice, though at one point West Ham faced competition from Tottenham.

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The Hammers, as Express Sport revealed on Friday, are also interested in Lille winger Jonathan Bamba.

That’s with Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard having yet to return to the London Stadium after his successful loan spell at the club last term.

The England midfielder looks increasingly likely to stay at parent club United instead.

Old Trafford manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week insisted he wants to keep the 28-year-old and he then came on as a substitute against Southampton.

Solskjaer said: “I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team. Whenever your employer is Man Utd, that’s your first priority, it always is.

“I’ve got to leave players out of the starting eleven and squad. But they all have to remember they’re going to play a part if we’re going to be successful.

“Jesse’s back to fitness, played really well in behind closed doors games and has come back in good shape. He’s got a big part to play.”

As a result, Lille’s Bamba – rated at around £25million – has been identified as a player capable of playing a similar role.

The 25-year-old has made a big impression at the Ligue 1 club with his skill and pace, and played a major part in Lille’s title success last season, with six goals and nine assists.

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West Ham have not given up hope of landing Lingard but if they chase Bamba instead know they face competition from Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen.

David Moyes said this week post-Leicester: “We need to get some more reinforcements if we can do so but I want to try and bring players in who I feel can help me and not just people to appease because it sounds as if we need players.

“I think I need to add to the squad if I can but I can’t guarantee anything just because of the way the window is.

“But I do feel as if I need to add to it, we probably don’t have enough depth but trying to get players who are going to give us another level as you can see tonight is not easy.”

Asked about Zouma, he added: “I never talk about players at other clubs because it’s disrespectful to the club, and to the player as well so I wouldn’t do that.”

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