Napoli leading Torino in race to sign Nikola Vlasic on loan from West Ham

Nikola Vlasic has fallen down the pecking order at West Ham
Nikola Vlasic has fallen down the pecking order at West Ham / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Napoli have jumped ahead of Torino in the race to sign attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic on loan from West Ham United, 90min understands.

The 24-year-old joined the Hammers on a five-year deal last summer but struggled to find his feet during a difficult first season at London Stadium.

Vlasic played 31 times in all competitions, scoring once in the comfortable 4-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road, but was afforded just 552 minutes of Premier League football by David Moyes.

With West Ham strengthening their attacking options with the £17.5m signing of Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet last Friday, 90min understands that the club are willing to allow Vlasic to leave despite Moyes' and head of recruitment Rob Newman's desire to add further signings.

The Scot emphasised the need for fresh faces in his squad following the 2-0 defeat to reigning champions Manchester City on the opening day, admitting that things are a bit 'stale' at London Stadium.

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Torino have been actively pursuing Vlasic for the last few weeks in the hope of agreeing a loan deal, but 90min has learned that Napoli - who have had a longstanding interest in the Croatian that dates back to his time at CSKA Moscow - are now leading the charge for his signature.

The Serie A giants are looking to land Vlasic on a season-long loan deal with option to buy - not the obligatory buy clause that 90min understands West Ham are looking for. Nevertheless, a switch to Italy is now looking likely, which could open up the possibility of Moyes signing another attacking midfielder before the transfer window closes.

West Ham have signed Cornet, Gianluca Scamacca, Nayef Aguerd, Alphonse Areola and Flynn Downes so far this summer, but are hopeful of completing deals for at least two or three more players.

In terms of outgoings, 90min understands that a deal to take central defender Issa Diop to Fulham is progressing. The Frenchman, whose desire to leave the club has persuaded West Ham to sanction an exit, was left out of the Hammers' squad for the game against City, leaving Ben Johnson to step into an unfamiliar role alongside Kurt Zouma.