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West Ham ready to swoop as Juventus defender plots January exit

West Ham have reportedly stepped up their interest in signing Juventus defender Luca Pellegrini, who could leave the Serie A giants in January.

The Hammers were interested in signing the player on loan over the summer, according to Goal, and are now ready to move for the 22-year-old again, However, Calciomercato reports that they will have strong competition from Sampdoria for his signature.

The Italy international joined Juve from Roma for €22million in 2019. However, he has made only one Serie A appearance for the club since his switch.

Pellegrini has spent the last two seasons on loan at Cagliari and Genoa and now faces another exit in the new year.

He did have the opportunity to quit the Italian giants over the summer but remained in the hope of first-team football.

However, after having just 58 minutes of action so far this term, both the Hammers and Sampdoria are ready to swoop.

David Moyes currently has Aaron Cresswell as his first-choice left-back, with Arthur Masuaku as deputy.

However, Cresswell turns 32 in December and is unlikely to be a long-term option beyond 2023, when his contract expires.

Pellegrini is regarded as a player who has yet to reach his potential after stuttering in Turin. But his previous loan spells showed why Juve were prepared to pay €22m for him in the first place.

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Zouma lifts lid on Hammers move

Meanwhile, Kurt Zouma has lifted the lid on his reasons for quitting Chelsea to join West Ham this summer – and has revealed the role David Moyes played in convincing him to join the Hammers.

The defender moved to the Hammers in a reported £25m switch with days left in the summer transfer window. The 26-year-old appeared to have lost his way at Chelsea following Thomas Tuchel’s arrival earlier this year and needed a change to kickstart his career.

After an initial slow start to the season, the move now appears to have been vindicated with Zouma finding his feet. Indeed, having debuted in the impressive win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League, Zouma has since faced Manchester United and Leeds in the Premier League.

At the time of his signing, Moyes declared Zouma his “first choice summer target”. And having seen what he’s brought to the Hammers, the feeling appears mutual.

Explaining his decision to leave Chelsea and join the Hammers, Zouma believes he has settled in extremely quickly.

“The integration? I get along well with everyone,” he told Canal Plus. “Honestly, I’m someone who talks to everyone.”

Simple decision for Zouma

Asked why he quit the European champions to join the Hammers and Zouma had a blunt, five-word response.

“I needed to play more,” he said.

“Obviously I was in a team that was doing really well. Coming here has allowed me to compete more to play. It’s a club that wants to progress and grow. And I want to be part of this project.

“They did an exceptional job last year to qualify for the Europa League. And there, we will have a difficult group, we can do something this year.

“The fact of having spoken with the manager, who helped me a lot and convinced me, who showed me that he wanted me. He thinks that I will bring more to the team, from my experience. I’ve been in England for a long time, and I’m in the France squad so it’s true that I can bring all my defensive and offensive quality.”

READ MORE: Declan Rice makes ‘honest’ West Ham statement to leave Man Utd, Chelsea deal in dust

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