West Ham United are believed to be plotting a shock move for Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu, as the east Londoners prepare for what is shaping up to be the most fiercely fought Premier League relegation battle in years.
As reported by the Northern Echo, Hammers boss David Moyes is keen to bolster his squad ahead of what will be a gruelling second half of the campaign, and Atsu has emerged as a surprise transfer target.
The Ghanaian winger only joined the Magpies from Chelsea in the last transfer window, but Moyes could look to weaken his relegation rivals by sealing the deal.
Despite their impressive recent run of form and their mid table standing in the league, West Ham remain just five points off the relegation zone in a tightly packed bottom half of the top tier. Newcastle are in a similarly nervy situation, as their lack of summer investment has seen their return to the Premier League blighted with inconsistency - leaving them 15th in the table.
It looks set to be a busy month for the Hammers, as Chelsea are reportedly closing in a deal to bring Geordie giant Andy Carroll to Stamford Bridge. The forward looks set for a loan move to the Blues, as they look to sign a proven goalscorer. The former Magpies man would be eligible for the Champions League, as West Ham aren't involved in European competition this season.
Newcastle meanwhile are looking to do some January business of their own, with controversial owner Mike Ashely reported to have given the green light to Rafael Benítez to pursue an audacious £10m move for Napoli stopper Pepe Reina. Benítez is believed to be eager to link up with his former Liverpool keeper, despite the 35-year-old entering the final stage of his career.